Burnadene: The talent behind the DWTS spotlight

on Wednesday, 04 February 2015. Posted in News

The News Journal 2/4/2015
Brenda Harrison, Editor

As director of choreography, Burnadene Kelley-Newman has a full dance card with Dancing With the Stars of Florence. This highly popular and successful fund raiser for The School Foundation will celebrate its fifth annual event on the evening of March 31 at the SiMT Building. Involved in this local benefit since its beginning, Burnadene choreographs about 80 percent of the dance routines, helps select the music for the competition, is responsible for finding the professional dancers, donates space in her studio for rehearsals, and generously assists dancers who ask for help with their routines, costumes and shoes.

She also provides entertainment for the event, presenting dancers from her studios. She is motivated to give so much of her time and effort for this event because it benefits children, schools and the community. "I just don't know how I could say no to that," she said. Burnadene grew up in the rural crossroads of New Zion, where she was not only encouraged in the fine arts, but taught about community service. She has an elementary education degree from Columbia College where she also majored in dance.

Today, she and her husband Sid Newman own and operate KFA (Kelley's Fine Arts) with dance studios in eight locations, including Florence, Lake City, Bishopville, Cheraw, Hartsville, Camden, Turbeville and Johnsonville. They also have full gymnastic facilities in Florence and at two other studios. Burnadene also coaches the Pee Dee Vipettes, cheerleaders for The Pee Dee Vipers, a minor league basketball team in Florence with the Premier Basketball League (PBL). Her three daughters, Alexis, Rebecca and Georgie, are all dancers who have performed as professionals in previous Dancing With The Stars of Florence. She also has a stepdaughter and stepson.

In addition to DWTSF, Burnadene directs and produces Dancing With The Stars benefits in Lee County, Camden and Cheraw. Again, she says it is difficult to say no to events that provide a service to these communities. Although Burnadene develops most of the dance routines, the professionals are free to choreograph their own if they desire. She doesn't prepare ahead when choreographing their routines. She talks with the couple to find out what they like to do, asks about injuries and then listens to their music before designing their steps. "I really don't know how I do it. It just comes from my head.

I have been dancing and choreographing as long as I can remember," she explained. If a dancer needs assistance, she will find time to work with them one-on-one. "I'm here to help and I'm not going to leave anyone stressed," she said. Not only does working with the DWTS event allow her to meet people and make new friends, is rewarding and great fun. "Some of the dance celebrities come in very nervous, but by the time they leave they want to win.

It is a great feeling to see a sparkle in their eyes and watch their confidence level go up," she said. Burnadene expects this year's event to be very competitive, commenting that the celebrity dancers, as a group, are the most coordinated that she has seen. This year's line up of celebrity dancers paired and professionals are: Mike Miller and Cheyanne Beck; Robert Watkins and Drew Arnold; Michele Pridgen and Jacob Coward; Ashley Nance and Desiree Stokes; Fields Norwood and Tiffany Welsh; Dr. Deepak Chowdhary and Brandi Williamson; Steve Wade and Kayce Smith; Chris Warner and Meggie Baker; Will King and Amanda Smith; Dr. Susan Ninichuck and Jovan Kindred; Cedric Kennedy and Shandi Cox; Rick Ryan and Georgeanna Kelley.

A panel of judges will name one couple "Technical Skills Winner" based on the contestants' overall skills. A couple will also be chosen as "Most Entertaining" by the judges. The "People's Choice" mirror ball trophies will be awarded to the three couples raising the most votes. Fans may vote for their favorite couples online at www.FlorenceDancingWithTheStars.com for $10 per vote. You can follow the dancers' progress on Facebook at Dancing With The Stars of Florence. The event is sold out, but there is a waiting list. Over $480,000 has been raised from the DWTSF benefits over the last four years. To learn more about The School Foundation, visit their website at www.theschoolfoundation.org.