During Saturday’s Gala, plans were unveiled for a new performance amphitheater to be built in 2016.
With three sold out shows hosting nearly 1,000 guests, the annual Dancing for the Arts Gala again affirmed that the community is eager to welcome a Center for the Arts to the area. Held November 20 and 21 at the Maryland Golf and Country Clubs, the event netted a total of $95,000 to support the Center for the Arts in its mission to establish a new Center for the Arts in Bel Air.
Highlights of the weekend included the announcement of plans to build a 500-seat performance amphitheater on the site in 2016, the Jeffrey J. Plum Legacy in the Arts award presented to local artist Jim Butcher and a lively auction of donated items—including a plein air painting of the dancers in action created on-site by artist Moon Joo Lee during the event.
Of course, the main attraction was the ballroom dance competition starring 11 ordinary Harford County citizens who revealed the moves they had been practicing for months with the help of professionals Tom Rzepnicki and Natasha Pollack of the Dancing with Friends dance studio. During the three shows, including a new matinee that was added this year, judges evaluated each dancer on their execution of ballroom classics such as the cha-cha, mambo, tango, waltz, swing and others, as well as for their showmanship and costumes. Their scores and audience votes from each show were tallied to name the Judges’ Choice and People’s Choice award winners. Two awards were also presented for the top fundraisers.
Outstanding performances were given by all, but in the end the 2015 Dancing for the Arts awards went to:
- Judges’ Choice and People’s Choice—Landri Taylor Hardiek
- Top Fundraisers—
- 1st Place: Linda Greco Rich and Bob Rich $28,109.91
- 2nd Place: Kathy Heidelmaier $28,075.41
Other dancers were Katie Cole, Barclay and Anthony Gibbs, Anthony Lisuzzo, David Lockhart, Chris and Lynn Moore, Pamela Overbay, Suzanne Zantop and student dancers Abby Walsh and Evan Wozniak. Together, the dancers raised more than $111,000 through fundraisers, raffles, donations, ticket sales, sponsorships, and program ads.
In addition to the signature dance competition, all shows offered the chance to see performances by Elio Scaccio of “The Sicilian Tenors” and two dances by the Maryland School of Ballet and Modern Dance under the direction of Laura Ward-Moran.
Judges for the three shows included Paul Balsamo, Jesse Bane, Kimberly Brueggemann, Colleen Case, the Honorable Elizabeth Bowen, Alan Doran, Dr. Lisa K. Feulner, Pamela Lauer, Tony Meoli, Deborah Pro-Marshall, Reginald Przybylski, Dr. Devonna Rowe, Shelly Stannard, Jim Thornton and Monica Worrell, who provided lively commentary after each routine. Event emcees were Bob Bloom of WXCY Radio (Friday evening), Alan Doran (Saturday matinee) and WJZ-TV reporter Kristy Breslin (Saturday Gala).
Center for the Arts Board President Toby Musser said, “It is clear from the hundreds of guests who attended these performances and donated to support the dancers that the community is in full support of bringing a new Center to the Arts to the area now, and it is an honor to be leading the effort which makes that dream a reality.”
Event co-chair Carolyn Evans, Esq. of Sengstacke & Evans, LLC adds, “The talent of the dancers in this event grows every year, much like the enthusiasm for the Center for the Arts. Each participant gave their all and can take pride in knowing that they had a hand (and a foot!) in the physical creation of this building.” Event co-chair Dr. Mary Teddy Wray of Laurel Bush Family Dentistry agrees, adding, “It was a fantastic show and we are thrilled by the continued support of Dancing for the Arts. We look forward to the return of this event in 2016 and for many more years to come, including those to be held in our very own Center for the Arts!”
Evans and Wray both note that the event would not have been possible without the support of sponsors including:
- Art Masterpiece level sponsors I-95 Business Magazine and Barbara Stratton
- Art Society Level sponsors Exit Preferred Realty and Find A House in Maryland; Pairings Bistro; Laurel Bush Family Dentistry and Society of Italian American Businessmen
- Friends of the Arts level sponsors Aberdeen Proving Ground Federal Credit Union; Absolute Companion Care; Advanced Eye Care; The Aegis; Balsamo, Stewart, Lutters & Ruth, P.A.; Boeing; Booz, Allen, Hamilton; Brightview Avondell, Bel Air and Perry Hall; Chick-fil-A Aberdeen and Constant Friendship; City of Havre de Grace; Events by I Did It Myself; Harford County Style Magazine; House of Cards; Images of Sommer; It’s Payday; Janney Montgomery Scott, Joseph’s Department Store; Oak Contracting, Shaffer, McLauchlin and Stover, LLC; Nationwide Insurance, Betty Ward and WXCY Radio
- Art Gallery Level sponsors Dance Conservatory of Maryland and Stack and Store Mini Storage
About the Center for the Arts (http://www.harfordcfa.org/) 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.