Live from Stamford, It’s Dancing With the Stars
STAMFORD — There are no Osmonds or even Kardashians, but local “celebrities” will strut their stuff for the fifth year to raise money for local theater.
Ten couples were introduced Thursday for Curtain Call’s “Dancing with the Stars” fundraiser at the Kweskin Theatre.
Lou Ursone, executive director at Curtain Call, said the theater relies on fundraising events to continue serving the Stamford community. He explained that utilities alone cost about $100,000 a year.
“It’s amazing to have volunteers that get outside of their comfort zone to raise money for us,” Ursone said.
“Last year we hoped for $50,000 in voter sponsorships, and we blew that out of the water, but this year we hope for $100,000,” he said.
Though the main event doesn’t takes place until May 19 at The Palace, Thursday’s news conference served as an information session covering a collection of sponsorships, voting and coordinating rehearsal schedules.
The local amateur dancers are: Wayne DeVingo, owner of Salon Wayne in Stamford; Jeanne Hendrickson, director of finance of Perey Turnstiles Inc. in Bridgeport; Karen Kelly, associate publisher of Moffly Media in Westport; Lori Mercede, co-founder Twin Meadows Playground in Stamford; Theresa Rogers Matthews, owner of Horeneck Wines in Greenwich; Jimmy Romaniello, owner of James Daniel Entertainment in Stamford; Mia Schipani, vice president of RMS Companies in Stamford; Jeffrey Selden, managing partner of Marcia Selden Catering & Event Planning in Stamford; Meri Wick, director of sales learning and development at Heineken USA; and Steven Wise, owner of Steven Wise Associates in Stamford.
“I have no experience at all. It will be a great starting point and opens a new door — maybe I’ll become a dancing fiend,” said Karen Kelly, associate publisher of Moffly Media, who will be dancing with Lou Lopez of Latin Moves Dance Studio.
“I hope to win, have a lot of fun and raise a lot of money,” Kelly added.
Lori Mercede, co-founder of Twin Meadows Playground in Stamford, had reservations about participating, but believes in supporting a good cause.
“My husband did it three years ago and I said to myself, `There’s no way ,’ but this is for a charity,” said Mercede, who will dance with Ted Thomas of New England Academy of Dance. “There are a lot of reasons for doing it, like making new friends. I also want to take advantage of learning how to dance — it’s something I can do socially and do again,” Mercede said.
The professional dance companies and instructors were equally ecstatic about joining forces for the event.
“I think it’s incredible to take part of something that’s positive and constructive,” said Mayko Noriega of Arthur Murray of Greenwich, whose partner is Theresa Rogers Matthews of Horseneck Wines in Greenwich.
Maria Fiora, owner of Maria Fiora’s Ballroom and Latin Dance Studio in Stamford, has been involved in the dance competition since it started five years ago. Shannon Chapman and Cameron Johnson, two of her instructors, will be performing with Jimmy Romaniello of James Daniel Entertainment and Mia Schipani of RMS Cos.
“The actual highlight is the show, but the whole process is wonderful — seeing the amateurs getting better, taking them from a piece of clay and molding them,” Fiora said.
And Julia Frisoli, co-chairwoman of the dancing event, said she believes the event gets better each year.
“At first we thought we’ve got a well-oiled machine once we get the dancers, but every year we’re faced with new challenges as we were just talking about voting process. As a co-chair, my job is to keep everyone happy and make it fun,” Frisoli said.
While Curtain Call’s dancing event closely mirrors the television show with videotaped rehearsals and the like, Frisoli explained one area that makes their event different.
“We also incorporate parts of Curtain Call productions into our “Dancing with the Stars” evening, because it’s really about keeping Curtain Call alive,” Frisoli said.
For information on the event, call 203-329-8207 or visit www.curtaincallinc.com.