Dancing With the Houston Stars

Dancing With the Houston Stars - KPRC's Dominique Sachse & Philip GutierrezMarilyn Monroe, Lady Gaga, Bob Fosse and Natalie Portman couldn’t outshine Fred Astaire on his birthday. At least not at Tuesday’s Dancing With the Houston Stars benefit for Houston Ballet, which was not your typical charity bash.

Conceived, organized and hosted by chair Becca Cason Thrash, it pairs bold-faced types with professional dancers for a good-natured competition in front of more than 250 guests who enjoy a fine dinner and drinks in between the performances.

The contestants are, ahem, exposed in a whole new light — on their toes or airborne, dropping into splits or cartwheels or fish dives, spinning and shaking booty like nobody’s business — in costumes worthy of the real Dancing With the Stars.

Tuesday’s action, on a black-and-white-checkered dance floor above the Thrashes’ indoor pool, offered a succession of hot, hot, hot numbers.


Dancing With the Houston Stars - KPRC's Dominique Sachse and Fred Astaire's Owner Philip GutierrezKPRC anchor Dominique Sachse channeled Marilyn Monroe for her smooth, professional-looking cha-cha with her dance partner Philip Gutierrez of the Fred Astaire Dance Studio.

This event’s meal brought top chefs to the kitchen. There were amuse bouches from “Philippe” Restaurant + Lounge, seared sea scallops from “Eddie V’s” CityCentre, ginger beef tenderloin from Monarch at the “Hotel Zaza” and panna cotta with cocoa beans from “RDG Bar Annie” / “Ava & Alto”. All with super sips to match from Moet & Chandon and Houston Wine Merchant

All the effort is worth it, Cason Thrash said — and she’s making Dancing With the Houston Stars an annual event. “It’s fun, uplifting, and everybody works really hard,” she said.

Tuesday’s party raised $400,000 for Houston Ballet’s building fund — not bad for a little school-night gathering. Look for it to happen again in April or May 2012 — after next year’s Ballet Ball, which Cason Thrash is also chairing.

Dancing With the Houston Stars - KPRC's Dominique Sachse; Fred Astaire's Philip GutierrezBallet board vice president Phoebe Tudor, who won the first event in September, kicked off Tuesday’s show with a gamely encore, once again partnered by Philip Broomhead.

By night’s end, she’d changed out of her pink-fringed micro-mini costume but was still glowing.

“For people of a certain age, where else would you get a chance to dance like this?” she said. “I love it.”