Carol Fedele and Luis Lopez, Judges' Choice and Peoples' Choice award winners
A crowd of over 700 jumped to its feet in appreciation as Carol Fedele and her professional dance partner Luis Lopez (owner of Latin Moves Dance Studio) finished their dance routine Saturday night at Curtain Call's Dancing With the Stars, Stamford fundraiser. Fedele was named JUDGES' CHOICE WINNER (female division) while Arthur "Arty" Selkowitz was named JUDGES' CHOICE WINNER in the male division. Selkowitz was partnered with professional dancer Juliet Thibadeaux, of Fred Astaire Dance Studio.
The crowd at this second annual fund raiser for Curtain Call, Stamford's longest-running non-profit community-based theatre company, was also on its feet cheering local business leader, June Rosenthal, President of Juner Properties, who at age 85, rocked the house with her dance to the 1950s hit "Rock Around The Clock". Rosenthal was partnered with professional dancer Jim Rovito of Arthur Murray Dance Studio.
In addition to Fedele (who is a Facilitator with the American Cancer Society), Selkowitz (who is Chairman of the Mill River Colaborative) and Rosenthal, other participants included: Vice President and Branch Manager of HSBC Bank, Deborah DeMatteis and her professional partner, Greg Kasprzak of Dance-Fit; Agent Owner - State Farm Insurance in Stamford, George Boyce and his professional partner, Maria Fiora of Maria Fiora's Ballroom and Latin Dance Center; Second Vice President, General Re Corporation, Rich Manz, and his professional partner, Anja Leiter of Fred Astaire Dance Studio of Ridgefield; Vice President/Creative Director for Palmer’s Market in Darien, Cindy Palmer-Dean, and her professional partner, Jerry Chylkowski of Maria Fiora's Ballroom and Latin Dance Center; Director of Legal Affairs for the City of Stamford and Partner with Bello, Lapine & Cassone, Tom Cassone and his professional partner Brandy Gillam of The Ballroom Company; President, Frank Mercede & Sons, Frank J. Mercede and his professional partner, Gina Goethche of Fred Astaire Dance Studio; Supervisor of Traffic and Road Maintenance for the City of Stamford, Ernie Orgera and his professional partner, Francesca Maione of Maria Fiora's Ballroom and Latin Dance Center; Co-Owner of Agabhumi, the Best of Bali in Stamford with her husband Michael Kirshbaum, Regina Maguire Kirshbaum and her professional partner, Martin Goethche of Fred Astaire Dance Studio.
"In these incredibly challenging economic times, it was overwhelming to see the support of our community for this event," said Lou Ursone, Curtain Call's Executive Director. "With arts organizations all around us either in bankruptcy or closing for good, we know how very fortunate we are to keep our lights burning," he said. "It's a very scary time for all non-profit organizations and I hope we can all weather this storm. This dancing event will certainly help us close our books in the black for this fiscal year, but the next 18 months, with State arts funding sure to be drastically reduced if not completely eliminated, will be very difficult for us," Ursone noted.
Co-chairs of the event for Curtain Call were Julia Frisoli of New Canaan and Jami Sherwood of Stamford, both Curtain Call Board Members and volunteer Star Dancers from their 2008 Dancing With The Stars event. Sherwood said "Dancing last year was such an incredible experience...I never thought I would have so much fun doing this - that it made getting this year's line-up of volunteer Star Dancers psyched, very easy." Frisoli noted that "Every one of our volunteer dancers, amateur and professional alike, were completely committed to this event and that made our jobs so much easier."
Arty Selkowitz and Juliet Thiabdeaux, Judges' Choice Winners
Beyond the hundreds of volunteer hours committed by all of the event's dancers, many local businesses and individuals added to the evening's success either by contributing products and/or donating time to the event. A wide array of food and beverage were provided by Beldotti Bakery, The Capital Grille, Columbus Park Trattoria, Crystal Rock LLC, DiMare Pastry Shop, Garden Catering, Heineken, Il Falco Ristorante, Marcia Selden Catering, Michele's Pies, Napa and Co., Palmer's Market, Strada 18 and W.J. Deutsch & Son, LTD. "A major part of this event is the video component which included behind the scenes rehearsal footage as well as live feeds throughout the evening," Ursone said. Richard Levitt, President of RHL Communications and James Daniel Video Services made all of that possible.
Other key sponsors for the event were Access Securities; Conair Corporation, CuisinArt Resort & Spa, General Re, HSBC Bank, Pat McCoy, Frank Mercede & Sons, Inc., June and Rolf Rosenthal and Betsey and Arthur Selkowitz.
"We hope to make next year's event even bigger." Ursone said, noting that many new civic leaders have already come forth volunteering to participate. "I cant wait to see next year's line-up of Star Dancers," he said.
Curtain Call is the non-profit community-based theatre company in residence at The Sterling Farms Theatre Complex, 1349 Newfield Avenue in Stamford. Year-round productions and workshops are presented by and for area residents in The Kweskin Theatre and The Dressing Room Theatre. Voted Fairfield County’s BEST LOCAL THEATRE GROUP 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009 in the Annual Readers' Poll of The Fairfield County Weekly and most recently, BEST PERFORMING ARTS GROUP 2008 and 2009 by StamfordPlus magazine. For more information about upcoming performances. educational workshops or other special events, call 203-329-8207 or go curtaincallinc.com.