Center for the Arts Announces 2016 “Celebrity” Dancers for Popular Dancing for the Arts Gala

The “celebrity” dancers pose after their performance at the 2015 Dancing for the Arts Gala. Dance instructors Natasha Pollock and Tom Rzepnicki (seated in front) are working with a new group of citizens for this year’s show.
The “celebrity” dancers pose after their performance at the 2015 Dancing for the Arts Gala. Dance instructors Natasha Pollock and Tom Rzepnicki (seated in front) are working with a new group of citizens for this year’s show.


Organizers of the 2016 Dancing for the Arts amateur ballroom dancing competition have announced the lineup of local “celebrity” performers. This year’s event features 14 acts, and for a limited time only, tickets for the signature Gala performance are available at last year’s pricing of $185 each. The annual fundraiser will benefit Center for the Arts by helping to sustain and enhance programs and provide financial stability for ongoing development. Performances are set for November 18 and 19 at the Maryland Golf and Country Clubs in Bel Air.


The field of dancers for 2016 includes:



  • Cassie Firestone, C. Milton Wright High School student and

Stephanie Scalchunes, Notre Dame Preparatory School student

  • Bill Kelly and Lois Kissinger Kelly, The Kelly Group
  • Michael and Charlotte McCarthy, Riparius Construction, Inc.
  • Michael and Shannon McFerren, Chick-fil-A, Abingdon and Aberdeen




  • Kelly Hinder Haggerty, Saxon’s Diamond Centers Aberdeen
  • Charmian Hess,  Harford Mutual Insurance
  • Jeffrey Horowitz, M.D., Plastic Surgery
  • Stathis Kotanidis, Pat’s Pizzas
  • Joel Lightfoot, The Arc Northern Chesapeake Region
  • Aaron Piccirilli, MedStar Health
  • Edgar Radjabli, D.D.S., Abingdon Family Dentistry
  • Eric Rebbert, Express Employment Professionals
  • Christine Soné, Coldwell Banker
  • Darinna Swan, Special Olympics Athlete


Each individual and duo will be challenged to learn and perform a unique dance routine in front of a live audience as they compete for awards including Judges’ Choice, People’s Choice and the prestigious Top Fundraiser.  By popular demand, there will once again be three opportunities to see the competition: a preview November 18, a matinee November 19 and the Gala performance on the evening of November 19.


The Dancing for the Arts Gala is black tie optional and offers attendees an evening of fine dining, an open bar and a silent auction. The Friday preview and Saturday matinee shows are business casual events.  All shows feature a performance by the Rage Box Contemporary Dance Center under the direction of Karen Muccioli.


Most of the participants do not have prior dance experience. They will be teamed with a professional dance coach to master their routines; either dancer and choreographer Tom Rzepnicki or his dance instructor partner, Natasha Pollock. Tom Rzepnicki is a professional dancer and the owner of Dancing with Friends Studio in Harford County.


In addition to learning their dances, each individual and duo also has a fundraising goal which they will strive to reach by hosting events around the area, promoting ticket sales for the shows and selling sponsorships and program ads. Participants are also raising money through a group raffle that features three prizes: a diamond necklace from Saxon’s Diamond Centers; use of a private skybox for an Aberdeen Ironbirds home game donated by Harford Bank; and two club seats for a Ravens home game courtesy of Laurel Bush Family Dentistry.


All dancers have a designated page on the Center for the Arts website where supporters can make individual donations, purchase raffle and performance tickets, and reserve program ads.   Follow Center for the Arts on Facebook for updates on the dancers and their fundraising activities. Monies raised through raffles, donations, and sponsorships directly benefit Center for the Arts programs and overall financial sustainability.


Michael Jessup, CEO for Center for the Arts, says, “It is fitting that we put on the biggest Dancing for the Arts Gala in the same year we launch the first construction on the Center for the Arts property because this event has been an instrumental part of our progress. The building of a performance amphitheater will be a very visible way to show what our community can accomplish together, and we hope this year’s Gala will help keep the momentum going as we work to fully realize our goal of having a world-class arts center right here in Harford County.”


Event co-chair Carolyn Evans adds, “This event has sold out for the past three years, even with the addition of a matinee show in 2015. The community loves Dancing for the Arts!”  Dr. Mary Teddy Wray, the other event co-chair, says, “It’s truly the county’s best entertainment, so get your tickets early to guarantee your seat!”


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




Dancing for the Arts Preview—Friday, November 18, 2016, 7:00p.m. $25

Dancing for the Arts Matinee—Saturday, November 19, 2016, 2:00p.m., $25

Dancing for the Arts Gala—Saturday, November 19, 2016, 6:30-11:30 p.m., $185 until September 1; $200 beginning September 2


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

About the Center for the Arts ( –Founded in 2005, the Center for the Arts is a nonprofit organization working to establishing a permanent site for performance, display, and education in the arts in Harford County, Maryland. Dedicated to the idea that learning through the arts is essential for personal growth and helps make the world better, the organization strives to create an inclusive, engaging, and supportive arts community 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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