November 03, 2008

Debut of winning dance costumes delayed a week

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Fans of Kelly Kealy-Mayton and her prize-winning dance costume designs will have to wait a bit longer to see the costumes showcased on the popular ABC television show “Dancing with the Stars.”

The Southern Illinois University Carbondale graduate was all ready to fly to Los Angeles to see on stage Wednesday the black, white and red outfits she designed. But, a Sunday night phone call informed her of a new schedule.

The grand prizewinner will instead get to see a well-known star couple twirling around the Hollywood stage in her attire on Tuesday, Nov. 11. Kealy-Mayton isn’t sure why the date for the debut of the winning nationwide Dancing with the Stars “Macy’s Design a Dance” costumes changed. But regardless of when it happens, she’s just anxious to see her sketches come to life in a forum where millions of viewers will see them.

“I’m thrilled to death about the whole thing. It’s just a wonderful thing,” Kealy-Mayton said.

With revised reservations made, she’ll fly to California Monday, Nov. 10, staying until Thursday, Nov. 13. She’ll attend the results show live Tuesday, Nov. 11 at 7 p.m. Central Time.

“I will be there and the costumes will be dancing on that date!” she said, noting officials have assured her the schedule won’t change again.

Costume design contestants were to envision a couple’s dance outfit for a jive dance set to the Jerry Lee Lewis song “Great Balls of Fire.” The legendary crooner’s ever-present piano keyboard inspired Kealy-Mayton’s designs. There’s a short halter-top dress with black and white “keyboard” striping front and rear, a fringed skirt extending the keyboard illusion, and a big red bow on the low-scoop back. The man’s costume features a 1950’s style black bowling shirt circled ‘round by a black and white keyboard along with black slacks with satin striping. The design calls for glittery crystals in abundance.

Online voters chose Kealy-Mayton’s design by a margin of more than 3,000 votes over the second-place finisher among the five finalists’ creations, contest officials told her. Kealy-Mayton is a Waterloo native and her parents Dick and Carol Kealy still reside there. She’s a 1992 fashion design graduate from the College of Applied Sciences and Arts at SIUC and her sister, Lori Wachtel, is currently a senior special education major at her alma mater.

Kealy-Mayton and husband Jim Mayton are the parents of daughter Kealy, age two, and one-year-old son Jay. The family resides in Allen, Texas, where Kelly owns DanceportDesigns (, creating one-of-a-kind dance costumes.