Meet The Judges

May 13, 2024 by Sandy Lerebours

The Carolina Theatre’s annual Dancing With The Carolina Stars fundraiser takes place on May 21! Audience members will be entertained by incredible dance performances and hilarious commentary from our panel of judges. 

This year’s panel promises to bring high energy, quick wit, and comic relief to the evening’s performances. Many of you may remember Adam Dickinson, co-founder of Adam Dickinson Realty Group, from last year’s show, and we are also welcoming back Stormie Daie, legendary daughter of Durham’s House of Coxx! We are also honored to present Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter – and curator of the Center Stage: The Wavemakers Series! – Rissi Palmer to this year’s lineup. 

To get to know our trio of judging experts, we sat down with them to learn a little more about why they decided to be part of the fundraiser and what Durham means to them.


Adam Dickinson

Adam Dickinson

Carolina Theatre of Durham: Why did you decide to get involved with the Carolina Theatre’s fundraiser, Dancing With The Carolina Stars?

Adam Dickinson: My wife and I have long been fans of Carolina Theatre’s diverse programming. It was the first place we went to the movies when we moved from Philadelphia 20 years ago, and we’ve seen so many great live shows here. So, when the opportunity to give back in a meaningful way was introduced by a dear friend of ours, we jumped all over it.

CTD: Why is it important to support the arts in Durham?

AD: The arts are a huge part of what helped Durham transition from a struggling ex-tobacco town into one of the best places to live in the entire country.  Today’s kids are tomorrow’s musicians, dancers, visual artists, and architects. Programs that inspire the youth, like the Arts Discover Education Series and Family Saturday Series at the Carolina Theatre, are critical to the continued evolution of Durham.

CTD: What do you feel like you bring as a judge to this event?

AD: I like to point out the strong points of a dancer’s performance, and pull from their off-stage lives into my feedback, all with a bit of humor. It’s so fun to interact with the dancers and other judges as we all try to put on a great show!

CTD: What do you hope to see from the participants? What are you looking forward to the most?

AD: The participants in the past few years have poured so much of themselves into their practice and performances, and I expect this year to be the same.  The big group numbers are always a crowd favorite as well.

 

Stormie Daie

Carolina Theatre of Durham: Why did you decide to get involved with the Carolina Theatre’s fundraiser, Dancing With The Carolina Stars?

Stormie Daie: The Carolina Theatre is a paragon of arts and culture in North Carolina and Durham; its work is leading the conversation in how longstanding institutions can be inclusive and expansive. I have been a patron and fan of the theater’s programming, and as they continue to grow, they continue to create space by uplifting communing and bring us all together with forward reaching and progressive programming. As a drag queen it is my duty to support those who support community and I am glad to find commonality with the work of the theater and her staff!

CTD: Why is it important to support the arts in Durham?

SD: Art archives, it supports, uplifts, entertains, and tells stories. By supporting the arts we can support uplifting our cultural experiences, enjoy stories that we do not know, uplift shared works, and support the smiths and creators that make up the creative communities of Durham and add the distinct vibe which makes our city so magical.

CTD: What do you feel like you bring as a judge to this event?

SD: Chile please! I am a good time. Me as a judge is gonna bring the energy from the stage into the opera box. I want to give everyone their flowers and really highlight the work that performers like me undergo!

CTD: What do you hope to see from the participants? What are you looking forward to the most?

SD: I want to see joy! As Durham’s resident joy monger, I know the only reason to be on stage is if you are feeling yourself and the audience feels it right back. Otherwise, there is no reason to be dancing circles for your own fulfillment.  Honestly, I am looking forward to the crowd’s reactions- as a performer that’s what you want to see but more specifically because I love how DWTCS really brings Durham closer to our leaders and creatives. I love bridging the gaps between lay people and the groovers and shakers, so to speak!

 

Rissi Palmer 

Carolina Theatre of Durham: Why did you decide to get involved with the Carolina Theatre’s fundraiser, Dancing With The Carolina Stars?

Rissi Palmer: Honestly, it sounded like so much fun!

CTD: Why is it important to support the arts in Durham?

RP: Durham has an embarrassment of riches in the arts. There are so many incredible artists and important works that come from here. It’s important that we nurture and encourage the next generation as well as fortify those that are here now.

CTD: What do you feel like you bring as a judge to this event?

RP: I bring my years of experience as a performer to the judging table.

CTD: What do you hope to see from the participants? What are you looking forward to the most?

RP: More than anything, I hope to see the performers having a good time! Lots of smiles and laughter. I’m looking forward to seeing the routines. This is going to be a good time.


Having a good time is what this event is all about! Get your tickets now to join in all the fun, laughter, entertainment, and fundraising for an amazing cause. We can’t wait to see you at the Dancing With The Carolina Stars fundraiser, on Tuesday, May 21st at 6:00 PM!