Bourne’s Dancing ‘Stars’ Feeling The Heat

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By: Diana T. Barth
Published: 09/03/10

Six couples reported to the Cape Cod Dance Center in Cataumet Wednesday evening, in spite of this past week’s heat wave, for the fourth of the six practice sessions planned to prepare them to compete in Dancing with the Stars of Bourne, coming on Sunday, September 19, to the Coonamessett Inn in Falmouth.

The women, although dressed in casual clothes, were all practicing in the high heels in which they will be dancing during the contest, one designed to earn money for the charity of their choice.

The evening of dance, complete with dinner, a salsa demonstration, and a chance for the audience to get out on the dance floor after the competition is over, is being organized by the Friends of the Jonathan Bourne Public Library.

Tickets are $40 per person for dinner, dining, and dancing, and the competing couples have been working hard to ensure that their portion of the entertainment is worth that price.

As a group, the couples started out casually, said Penny B. Myers, a member of the library’s trustees and the coordinator for the dancers. About the second session, however, they began looking at costumes, she said. Valley Farm, Falmouth Hospital, Centerville Congregational Church, and Parish of Christ the King Thrift Shops provided costume help. A.J. Marks provided jewelry for the competition, and Cheryl Grant, who directed the library’s mystery theater, volunteered to oversee hair and make-up. The women decided to try false eyelashes, Ms. Myers said.

After that session, she said, you could see the couples begin to take the production, and the competition, seriously. It has been great fun, she said, to watch the dancers’ progress.

Gloria M. Bzdula of Bourne, a former school teacher and a library volunteer, is not usually a ballroom dancer. She and partner Donald B. MacLean, an IBM retiree and avid reader, never danced together prior to the competition. They are dancing to benefit the American Cancer Society.

Leona Bombaci, a social worker whose glass sculptures have been displayed in the library, will be dancing with James H. Corbett Jr., a former financial advisor with Ameriprise who loves to dance. Their charity is the Bourne Youth Council.

Library trustee Heather A.M. DiPaolo, founder of the Mothers of Bourne, and husband Jonathan D. DiPaolo, a portfolio manager who is taking dancing lessons for the first time since he prepared for their wedding, are dancing for the Bourne Friends Food Pantry.

Department of Natural Resources Officer P. Sharon Hamilton is coupled with her husband, Steven Hamilton. She was an Irish dancer as a child, but has never had any formal dance training. They will dance for the ALS Foundation and for breast cancer research.

Selectman Mary S. Meli, a mother of three, is taking her first dance lessons. She and husband Ian T. Meli, a carpenter who will be teaching at Upper Cape Cod Regional Technical School starting this fall, are also competing on behalf of the food pantry.

Jan and Bill Reardon are dancing for the Cranberry Hospice Children’s Bereavement Program. Jan Reardon is a hospice nurse who assisted in developing a hospice children’s bereavement program in Plymouth. Her husband is a retired chief financial officer of a plastics company.

All six couples were focused Wednesday on instructor Ellen Brodsky, who teaches with both the dance center and the Cape Cod Conservatory in Falmouth. Ms. Brodsky was helping them perfect their waltz, swing, and merengue steps.

The couples will be competing in those three dances in that order, prompting Ms. Brodsky to say that they would start off formally and become increasing messy as the dances unfold.

Even the arm postures of the dances reflected that prediction, as the practice unfolded. The couples’ elbows were bent and their postures straight as they practiced the waltz. The beat picked up and the couples’ hands were clasped lower when they went into the swing. Hand, and hips, were moving to the beat by the time the merengue practice started.

“Are they getting into this, or what?” Ms. Myers asked from the sidelines as the music quickened. “It’s the beat that does it,” she said, as Ms. Bombaci discarded her shoes at the beginning of the merengue practice.
The couples practiced the steps for each of the three dances, in turn, and then separated, with three couples going downstairs with Cape Cod Dance Center owner Eveline Carle and three staying upstairs with Ms. Brodsky, as each couple learned a different, special twist to the ending of the swing section of the competition.

On September 19, the judges—Bourne library Director Patrick W. Marshall, Upper Cape Tech Superintendent Kevin J. Farr, and Julie A. Saunders of the library’s Friends— will be joined in choosing the winners of the contest by members of the audience, who will vote with their applause. The audience will also be able to buy as many votes for each couple as they would like by placing money in envelopes marked with the names of the dancers and the charity for which each couple is dancing.

After the competition, and dinner, the audience will be in for a special treat. John Kelly, who danced for many years with the Ballet Russe, and his former student Naomi Turner, director of the Tides Dance Company of Chatham, will give a Key West salsa dance demonstration.

A library fundraising auction will follow; after that the audience will be able to take to the dance floor.
For tickets to the event, call Barbara Berler at 508-743-8333.

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