Case closed: Judges pick lawyer in dance competition to benefit Turning Point

By: Kara Szymanski | Shelby - Utica News | Published May 13, 2019

 Lyndsay Ott won the Judges Award her dancing performance.

Lyndsay Ott won the Judges Award her dancing performance.

Photo provided by Lyndsay Ott


SHELBY TOWNSHIP — One might expect a lawyer to make a good case to a panel of judges in a courtroom, but how about on a dance floor?

Lyndsay Ott, a Shelby Township resident and an attorney at Warner Norcross + Judd in Clinton Township, was invited to be a celebrity dancer for an event in Sterling Heights April 26, and she won the Judges Award.

“About a year ago, I was approached by Turning Point, a domestic violence shelter and support system in Mount Clemens, to participate as a ‘local celebrity dancer’ in their Stepping Out with the Stars event (that is) held annually. (On April 26), I participated in the event as a star dancer (along with six other local professionals) after taking a few months of lessons with a professional dancer,” Ott said in an email.

The event was an annual fundraiser for Turning Point that took place at the Wyndham Garden hotel in Sterling Heights.

Ott said she was hesitant to accept the offer to be a celebrity dancer at the event, but she was glad she took the leap and tried it.

“This would be my first experience with any type of professional dancing, and I knew that it would be an uphill battle to learn a routine while working and raising two children. However, accepting Turning Point’s invitation was one of the best decisions I have ever made. The experience was humbling, uplifting, educational and truly enjoyable.,” Ott said.

Ott said she enjoyed the journey and the experience with the help of her instructor.

“My instructor, Jason Walters at Arthur Murray (Dance Studio) in Sterling Heights, was a pleasure to work with and extremely patient with my lack of mobility and synchronization. We laughed, a lot. In fact, my dance routine and song were changed three times before the final event on April 26. When he changed the routine for a third time, I was panicked. However, the third time is a charm, and I know now that Jason wanted to find the perfect type of dance that fit my personality and movement style. My goal, as I expressed it to Jason, was always to ‘have fun’ and to show that to the crowd.

“The more fun, the more money raised to help Turning Point in its mission to assistant survivors of domestic violence,” she said.

Ott said the dance went better than she thought it would.

“My salsa dance itself went better than expected. I’m told it was ‘amazing,’ but then again, I think people were just amazed that I could ‘dance.’ It started with me in a plain, boring, polka-dot dress, which quickly evolved (with the assistance of fishing line) into a hot, pink salsa dress that lit up the dance floor. The event was nothing short of a complete success for every dancer involved and Turning Point. It truly is amazing how many people took the time to donate on my behalf to Turning Point or attended the event that evening. A good friend of mine, Keith Lesperance from LPC Group in Mount Clemens, attended the event and stated that he cannot remember a time that his cheeks hurt from smiling for so many hours.”

Ott said she will be participating as a judge next year because most dancers move into a judge position for the following year.

Sharon O’Brien, the co-chair of the Stepping Out with the Stars Planning Committee, which originates from the Sterling Heights Arthur Murray Dance Studio, said Ott was enthusiastic and engaged from the beginning.

“She stated that she had little to no dance experience, but she immersed herself in the event. Lyndsay participated in the tour of the Turning Point shelter, danced at the Preview Party in March, asked pertinent questions, and generally appeared to have a wonderful experience throughout,” O’Brien said in an email.

O’Brien said there was a Judges Award and a People’s Choice Award, similar to what is done on “Dancing with the Stars.” For the first time, there were also awards given for various aspects of the performances, such as Most Entertaining and Most Dramatic.

Each judge was a celebrity dancer from the previous year’s event, so they knew what to look for. They were each assigned a specific area of the routine to judge, such as musicality, posture and poise, and footwork.

“Lyndsay received 10s from each of the five judges. Some of their comments pointed to Lyndsay’s great energy during her dance, her showmanship and her obvious enjoyment while dancing.

“It was also evident that Lyndsay knew her routine and had rehearsed for it well with her instructor,” said O’Brien.

O’Brien said the event was a big success, and the celebrity dancers contributed a lot of their time and hard work, along with the instructors and the Planning Committee.

“The SOWTS Planning Committee and the Arthur Murray dance instructors are passionate about the mission of Turning Point. Several months of hard work went into making the event a success. Our celebrity dancers were committed to doing their best to make this fundraiser a winner for Turning Point. They truly contributed to raising awareness and to helping survivors of domestic and sexual abuse find meaningful new lives for themselves and their children,” said O’Brien.

Ott said she really enjoyed the opportunity to try something new and for it to benefit a well-known cause at the same time.

“It was truly an awesome experience for an awesome cause!” said Ott.

For more information about the event, visit