Guests of The Independence Center’s 12th annual Dancing with the St. Louis Stars enjoyed a cocktail hour before entering the main ballroom for the evening’s entertainment on Jan. 18. The event's proceeds support the mission of Independence Center, which is to restore the lives of people in the St. Louis metro area dealing with serious and persistent mental illnesses. 

KMOV's Claire Kellett served as the emcee of the evening, welcoming guests before The Clark Academy of Irish Dance performed. Ian Watkins, Independence Center Board of Directors' president, took the stage next, followed by Mark Bethell, Independence Center’s executive director. Honorary chairs, Greg, Lisa and Ally Nichols, also spoke before the evening’s judges were announced – Brittny Adams, Ron Daugherty and Bob Tomaso.

Local professional dancers paired with business leaders from the metro area and one individual who received services from the Independence Center. The couples danced for votes, which translate into donations for the center. Next month, Ladue News will release a full feature story following a competitor's journey. To learn more about the competition and its purpose, follow Ladue News on social media. 

Photos and story by Christina Kling-Garrett

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