Community Council for the Arts

Promoting the Arts:  Stars Dance for the Arts

January 20, 2018
Doors open 6:30 p.m.

THANK YOU to all our dancers for participating in our 6th Annual Stars Dance For The Arts  (SDFA)! It was a star-studded, action-packed event hosted by Vickie Robinson and Wells Gulledge. SDFA 2018 featured superstar couples dancing to generously raise funds for Kinston’s Community Council for the Arts. Each couple performed an exciting and expertly choreographed dance. We appreciate the participation of these dancers and for their support!

MEET  -- Ashley Stucker & RJ Smith
This team performed Hip-Hop to The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air  by Will Smith.

                                                         Ashley Stucker
                                                         Dance Training: Ashley is an experienced dancer and began dance lessons when
                                                         she was four-years-old at L’Academie de Danse, and then continued dancing until
                                                         she was 18 at Dance Etc., then as part of the NC State Dance Team. Ashley also
                                                         danced in the Stars Dance for the Arts Program for the first time last year, and says
                                                         she “couldn’t wait to do it again this year!”

                                                        Education and Work Experience: Ashley graduated magna cum laude from NC
                                                        State University and graduated cum laude from Campbell Law School. She is an attorney with White & Allen, PA.

Background & Interests: Ashley is a Lenoir County native and also lived in Raleigh during college and law school. She studied abroad in Florence, Italy, and loves traveling “anywhere and everywhere.” She adds, “I love traveling and want to visit all 50 states and all seven continents.” Ashley is a Lenoir/ Greene United Way Board Member, a Kinston Community Health Center Board Member, former Secretary/ Treasurer and Vice President and current President of 8th District Bar Association, and a volunteer reader with the Little by Little Reading Program at Northwest Elementary School. Ashley enjoys listening to music, NC State, dancing, boat rides, college basketball, hanging out with family and friends, and cuddling with her dog, Packer. She remarks, with a smile, her greatest accomplishment to date is packing for a week-long trip to California in only a carry-on bag.

Family: Ashley is married to John Lee Stucker, III, who is a lineman with Duke Energy and also a Lenoir County native. John and Ashley grew up together in Kinston and have known each other since elementary school. They share their home with Packer, “my three-year-old fur-baby and favorite cuddling partner.” Ashley’s parents are David Jarvis Fillippeli, Jr., also an attorney with White & Allen, and Christi Norris Fillippeli, who teaches at St. Mary’s. Her sister is Bethany Fillippeli Sutton, a school psychologist, and brother-in-law, Wil Sutton, Golf Course Superintendent at Kinston Country Club.

What does Ashley like about Lenoir County?  “I love the camaraderie of the downtown area.  I know that no matter where I go downtown – whether it’s getting coffee at Middle Grounds, grabbing a beer at Mother Earth, eating a meal at Boiler Room, listening to a band at Red Room, or visiting any one of the other wonderful establishments in the area – I will be greeted with a happy face, good conversation, great service, and even better friends.  Being able to leave work and be within walking distances of great places to eat, drink, listen to music, or just hang out makes me feel like I’m in a much bigger city than the Kinston I grew up in.”

What is Ashley looking forward to by participating in this event?  “The actual event on January 20th!  Last year was my first time both attending and participating in the program, and I had such a great time that I couldn’t wait to do it again this year.  I met a lot of great people in the community through the event last year and had such a fun time choreographing and practicing our dance, hanging out with other dancers the weekend of the show, and performing in the competition last year.  It’s such a fun event, regardless of whether you are a performer in the show or an attendee!”

                                                               RJ Smith 

                                                               Dance Training: RJ admits he has no professional dance training, but he has won
                                                               several solo dance competitions and is a repeat performer for Stars Dance for
                                                               the Arts. His musicality and natural rhythm, coupled with his talent to entertain
                                                               are sure to provide a great performance with dance partner, Ashley Stucker.
                                                              Background & Interests: When RJ is not working for H. Stadiem, he plays in The
                                                              Vanilla Gorillas, a hip local band with influences from Dispatch, Jack Johnson, and
                                                              O.A.R. The band can be heard in downtown Kinston venues such as The Red
Room, Sugar Hill Pizzeria, North Street Pub, and Mother Earth Tap Room. Other interests include reading, travelling, and fishing. One of RJ’s favorite travel destinations is Nashville, Tennessee.

Family: RJ’s parents are Albert and Laura Stallings of Kinston. His sister, Erica, and her husband, Edward, live in Pink Hill with their daughter, Bailey.

What does RJ like about Lenoir County? “I love Kinston/ Lenoir County because I’m seeing a lot of growth. I have the chance to talk to tourists every single day who are in love with the small town I grew up in, and that’s incredible to hear. I love this place because it has a small town feel with a big city attitude.”

What is RJ looking forward to by participating in this event? “I’m looking forward to this competition because giving back to the community is very important to me, and I’m always looking for another place to show off my dancing skills!”

Ashley Stucker &
RJ Smith

Congratulations for being

Thank you to our Sponsors!
Return to
SDFA main page & read more about our other dancers