Stepping Out of Their Comfort Zones: Center for the Arts Announces 2015 “Celebrity” Dancers



Dancers in the annual “Dancing for the Arts” amateur ballroom competition and fundraiser for Center for the Arts include eight individuals, three couples and two students.

[Bel Air, MD] July 24, 2015—Sixteen ordinary Harford County residents, including two high school students, will be transformed into graceful ballroom dancers as they compete in Harford County’s Center for the Arts annual “Dancing for the Arts” Gala.  The gala takes place Saturday, November 21 from 6:30-11:30 p.m. at the Maryland Golf and Country Club, with all proceeds benefitting the non-profit organization that is working to build a home for the arts in Harford County. For the first time, Center for the Arts will also present a matinee performance on Saturday, November 21 from 2:00-3:30 p.m. in addition to the preview that is also open to the public, on Friday, November 20 at 6:30 p.m.


This 2015 Dancing for the Arts celebrity dancers include Katie Cole (Public Relations and Social Media Specialist, JigSaw Marketing Solutions); Barclay Gibbs (Artistic Director, MD School of Ballet & Modern Dance) and R. Anthony Gibbs (Board of Directors, MD School of Ballet & Modern Dance); Landri Taylor Hardriek (Patient Resource Navigator of Oncology Support Services, GBMC Cancer Institute); Kathy Heidelmaier (Senior Vice President, It’s Pay Day); Tony Lisuzzo (Booz Allen Hamilton); David Lockhart (Boeing Site Manager, Aberdeen Proving Ground); Chris Moore (Zayo Group, Manager, Large Project Fiber Engineering) and Lynn Moore (Creative Consultant); Pamela C. Overbay (Harford Community Action Agency); Brigitte Peters (City of Havre de Grace Office of Tourism); Linda Greco Rich (Exit Preferred Realty) and Bob Rich (Saxon’s Diamond Centers); Suzanne Zantop (Board Member, Deer Creek Chorale); and Abby Walsh and Evan Wozniak (both freshmen at C. Milton Wright High School and dancers at the Rage Box Contemporary Dance Center). Each dancer or couple has a fundraising goal and is hosting individual events to help reach that target.

“Celebrity” dancer Mary Ann Bogarty of Harford Bank shows off her moves in the 2014 Dancing for the Arts amateur ballroom competition.
“Celebrity” dancer Mary Ann Bogarty of Harford Bank shows off her moves in the 2014 Dancing for the Arts amateur ballroom competition.

This year the community has more choices than ever to see the dancers in action. The Saturday night gala offers attendees an evening of fine dining, an open bar, a live auction and a performance from Maryland School of Ballet & Modern Dance, but the highlight of the night is the ballroom dancing competition that puts the spotlight on the moves of the “celebrity” dancers as they take the floor and compete for the honor of being named the Dancing for the Arts champion.  Tickets are $185 per person and attire is black tie optional.


Tickets for the Friday preview and Saturday matinee are $25 or just $13 for children age 11 and under. Refreshments will be available for purchase. Guests are invited to vote for their favorite dancers at all three events (gala, matinee and preview). The lower-priced tickets for the matinee and preview reflect the Center’s vision to offer cultural experiences that are accessible for all. Last year’s sell-out preview and gala together netted more than $100,000 for Center for the Arts; this year’s matinee is being offered to accommodate popular demand.


Most of this year’s “celebrities” do not have prior dance experience, but regardless of their skills, each dancer or couple will learn new steps and choreography with the help of dance coach and choreographer Tom Rzepnicki and his dance instructor partner, Natasha Pollock. Tom Rzepnicki is a professional dancer and the owner of Dancing With Friends Studio in Harford County, as well as the organizer of the New Jersey Open Championships in Atlantic City. Natasha Pollock studied dance in the Soviet Union before moving to the United States. She now trains with Rzepnicki in all aspects of Ballroom and Theatrical Arts.


Carolyn Evans of Sengstacke & Evans LLC is an event co-chair and previous dancer. She says, “I know exactly how the dancers feel right now. Being a dancer is a challenging and slightly nerve-wracking role to take on! But every year ordinary people step up and volunteer their time and talents to support this cause, and that shows how much all members of our community truly welcome the presence of the Center for the Arts.” Dr. Mary Teddy Wray of Laurel Bush Family Dentistry is the other event co-chair and also a previous dancer. She adds, “This event is becoming so popular that last year’s gala and preview sold out. That’s why we added a matinee for 2015, to make sure no one would miss out on the fun. Get your tickets early to guarantee your seat and help us move one step closer to building a home for the arts in Harford County!”


Sponsorship and advertising opportunities are still available. For additional information, to support a dancer, or to purchase tickets to the gala, dress rehearsal or matinee, visit



Dancing for the Arts Preview—Friday, November 20, 2015, 6:30-8:00 p.m. $25 ($13 for ages 11 and under)

Dancing for the Arts Matinee—Saturday, November 21, 2015, 2:00-3:30 p.m., $25 ($13 for ages 11 and under)

Dancing for the Arts Gala—Saturday, November 21, 2015, 6:30-11:30 p.m., $185


All events take place at Maryland Golf and Country Club, 1335 E. Macphail Rd., Bel Air, Md., 21015.

One of the 2014 “celebrity” dancers, attorney Karmen Slezak, takes to the floor with dance coach Tom Rzepnicki.
One of the 2014 “celebrity” dancers, attorney Karmen Slezak, takes to the floor with dance coach Tom Rzepnicki.


About the Center for the Arts ( –Founded in 2005, the Center for the Arts is a nonprofit organization dedicated to establishing a permanent site for performance, display, and education in the arts in Harford County, Maryland.  The mission of the Center for the Arts is to nurture art and artists, and positively impact the community at large by providing a broad range of experiences in music, dance, theater, visual and literary arts.

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