Good News from A Great City Haverhill, MA
Everyone knows Haverhill is THE Shoe City, but last night The Heartbeat of Haverhill learned that the shoe was a dancing shoe.The first annual (THOH hopes) Stepping Out with the Valley Stars sold-out competition to benefit Emmaus was dominated by the talented toes and agile moves of Peter Carbone, Elaine Barker, Tim Jordan and Marsha Kazarosian, along with Bradford’s State Rep Diana DiZoglio (of Methuen but we claim her as our own because she works tirelessly for Haverhill while only representing a very small piece of our geography) and Newburyport’s Ward 4 City Councilman Charlie Tontar of Newburyport.
Much like the television show Dancing with the Stars, the event featured talented professional dancers Angie Egea, Victor Perez, Gastrell “G” Rossignol, Kayla Waldron, and Burju Perez who was also the Elite Sponsor and Creative Director. Dancers were partnered with home town heroes who advocate for the homeless and vulnerable. But unlike the show, our dancers didn’t have weeks to practice routines, they had hours. Peter Carbone said he put in a total of 7 hours to perfect his sensuous tango. Tim Jordan thought he was in shape until the day after his first hip hop practice. Aches, pains, and tired muscles proved he might be in shape but he wasn’t in “dance shape”, but he pushed through the pain to dedicate his dance to Molly, his daughter. Everyone received first hand understanding of the rigors of ballroom dancing. Diana DiZoglio’s strategy due to her very limited practice time was to hit a couple of major moves and just try and demonstrate the essence and the joy of the Salsa because so few people in the audience or the judges panel would know exactly how precise each movement should be.
As an avid fan of Dancing with the Stars, THOH was interested in a couple of things that the show is known for:
Those risqué costumes
The dance partner romances
And, who would fill Tom Bergeron’s shoes as Master of Ceremonies?
Someone should let Tom Bergeron know he should be looking over his should for fast approaching Ron Carpenito. Ron added just the right amount of humor and empathy as the host and maintained the evening’s fast, fun pace.
The risqué costumes were kept to a minimum and worn only by the professional dancers. The most blinged out celebrity was septuagenarian Elaine Barker who ramped up the heat in the room with her sparkly red number that was donated by Classic Couple of Haverhill. Charlie Tontar’s partner, Angie Azea, sizzled in her glitter coated, halter topped,and thigh exposing harem pant. Not sure which put the glint in Charlie’s eye, the reflection of all those rhinestones or was he just acting and demonstrating the emotional part in the romantic dance.
And there was real romance on the dance floor; a unison crowd exclaimed “Awwww” as Peter Carbone presented a rose to his understanding wife after the steamy tango with stunning dance professional and shoe designer Burju Perez. Class act!
About the judges – the most Len-like judge was undoubtedly Mayor of Lawrence, Daniel Rivera; when everyone was giving a 9, he might lift his paddle with an 8, expecting a little more from dancers he felt were capable. Jefferson Davis must have seen an episode or two of Dancing with the Stars, his comments were well thought out and supportive of new dancers. Erin Kaya owner of Aurora Ballroom in Salisbury had the most dance knowledge of the judges and she was fair and appreciative of everyone who donated their time to raise funds for Emmaus. Gretchen Arntz the Chief Development Officer of Emmaus was enthusiastic and knowledgeable, too, making THOH think she might make an excellent contender, in year two.
Like DWTS, it all comes down to the popular vote. And at the end of the judges’ voting, the field was topped by Tim Jordan who performed the most complicated dance with a lot of hip hop attitude. But the popular vote could move anyone to the top of the totem. Attendees voted with their pocketbooks. They purchased tickets to support their favorites and raised additional funds for Emmaus. The top two at the end with judges and popular vote combined were president of the Mass Bar Association Marsha Kazarosian who demonstrated some excellent lines while in hold, and State Rep Diana DiZoglio.
In hindsight, it was understandable that matching innate rhythmic skills and her expertise for vote-getting, it was Diana DiZoglio who won the election…um I mean competition. But the real winner was Emmausinc.org and all the people they support.
And that’s a great reason to dance when you don’t know how, or to donate even when things are tough. Please consider supporting Emmaus in any number of ways by going to their website. http://emmausinc.org/what-you-can-do/
We affirm the value of human dignity and self-respect for every person. We are called by our collective spiritual and social responsibility to serve all people in need—the homeless, disadvantaged, disabled, unemployed, and oppressed. Our goal is to enhance societal and personal advancement through provision of housing and support services that empower individuals and families to reach their fullest potential.
Emmaus helps people rebuild their lives by creating and renewing a sense of community.
Enjoy these event shots taken throughout the night.
(c)2015 by Alison Colby-Campbell