STAMFORD, Conn. – Amidst noise-makers, placards and banners akin to an old-fashioned political convention, a crowd of nearly 900 jumped to its feet in appreciation of 11 community leaders stepping out of their comfort zones at Curtain Call’s "Dancing with the Stars" on Saturday, May 16.
Holly Hyman (Stamford), a nursery school teacher, along with her professional dance partner, Lou Lopez (from Latin Moves Dance Studio), received the Judges' Choice Award in the female division at Curtain Call’s eighth annual fundraiser held at the Palace Theatre, Stamford.
John Spoto (Stamford) of John Spoto Plumbing and Heating and his professional dance partner Justyna Masajlo (from Magic Dance Studio) received the Judges' Choice Award in the male division. In recognition of his outstanding fundraising efforts for the event, Spoto also received the Peoples’ Choice Award (male division).
Stamford native and owner of Noble Salon, Maureen Clark Newlove, styled her own win by taking home the Peoples' Choice Award (female division) with her professional dance partner, Moises Guerrero, an Arthur Murray instructor.
Jim Matheny, (Stamford) assistant police chief for the City of Stamford, received the Friend-Raiser Award for getting the most individuals to participate in the annual gathering. Matheny was partnered with Meredith Landphair of Dance With Me, Stamford. Matheny's arresting performance, including two incredible new-slides, was cheered on by the crowds.
The fun-filled fundraiser began at UConn Stamford with a cocktail party saluting all of the dancers. A wide array of food and beverage were provided by Bank Street Events, Bar Rosso, Columbus Park Trattoria, David's Soundview Catering, DiMare Pastry Shop, EOS Greek Cuisine and Eventi Cafe, among others.
"Each year I am totally overwhelmed by the community’s support for this event," said Lou Ursone, Curtain Call's executive director. "With so many arts organizations locally and nationally struggling financially, we know how very fortunate we are to keep our lights burning," he said.
This year's event was the largest ever for the organization with more people in attendance, the largest event journal (156 pages) and the most money raised: more than $150,000.
"The economy is still very challenging for nonprofit organizations so it takes special events like this to help keep us in the black,” Ursone noted.
Arts funding at the state level has been greatly reduced over the past several years leaving funding gaps for many local arts organizations. For this year's event, in addition to Hyman, Matheny, Newlove and Spoto, other participants included Philip Bender, managing partner, Northwestern Mutual; with Karen Casagrande, founder, Hot Shoes Dance; Melissa DeSousa, general manager, David’s Soundview Catering; Radek Rogowski, Magic Dance Studio; Nikki Glekas, owner, EOS Greek Cuisine & Bank Street Events; Primo Garcia, Dance With Me, Stamford; P. J. Kennedy, blogger, Hey, Stamford!; Kelly Butler, Arthur Murray Grande Ballroom of Greenwich; Edward Schuster, MD, Stamford Hospital; Simone Assboeck, Latin Moves Dance Studio; Greta Wagner, EVP / executive director, Chelsea Piers CT; Cameron Johnson, Chelsea Piers Dance Academy; and Deena Youngs, Household CEO and director of Children Activities, New Canaan; Ted Thomas, New England Academy of Dance.
Co-chairs for the event were Robin Selden and Jami Sherwood, both of Stamford. Each is a Curtain Call Board member and was a volunteer Star Dancer at a prior dancing stars event.
"Dancing in 2008 was such an incredible experience...I never thought I would have so much fun doing this. It has made getting each year's line-up of volunteer Star Dancers psyched, very easy," said Sherwood.
Beginning in September 2015, Curtain Call will kick off its 25th Anniversary Season.
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