So I THINK I can dance… A Dancing Diary

I was asked to participate in the 2014 “Dancing With the Central PA Stars” event on April 26, 2014. I decided this was a perfect opportunity to experiment with a video diary, one that would consist of short 1-2 minute videos where the PennLive audience could follow me on my path to dancing glory. Here is the post that introduced the series, as well as the first video. To see all the videos be sure to click the “Read More” link. I assure you, they are all hilarious.

The summer of my senior year of high school, my grandmother paid for me to take ballroom dance lessons with my crush. It was quite possibly the best gift ever.

The first dance lesson started well enough, and I was giddy beyond belief when my crush took me into his arms.

Then it took a turn for the worse.

“You’re stomping like an elephant!” my instructor barked – thoroughly killing the moment. Unfortunately, my relationship with said-crush never recovered (not that it stood much chance, in retrospect).

Since then I’ve been determined to show my instructor that this elephant could be something akin to graceful.

Now, I have my chance.

I’m one of the “stars” for the Central Pennsylvania Symphony’s annual “Dancing With the Central PA Stars” gala on April 26.

The Symphony has teamed up with PA DanceSport to give each of its stars lessons, so we stand of chance of learning a solid routine by April 26. I’ve been assigned the Quickstep, which, according to my instructor Jonathan Kopatz, is the hardest dance at the competition.

Let’s just say I have my work cut out for me.

I’ll be video blogging along the way, so you can follow my progress (and note how I do, in fact, stomp around like an elephant). Here’s week one.

Week 2

Week 3

Week 4

Week 5

Week 6

Week 7

Week 8

The Dancing Competition

It’s hard to believe that it’s all over!

The Central PA Symphony’s “Dancing With the Central PA Stars” gala was April 26 and it was an evening of dance, food and sparkly dresses. What made it better was the fact that the funds raised from the event went to a great cause – the symphony and the Jake Gittlen Cancer Research Foundation.

I was one of the “stars” for the event, so for eight weeks I worked on a quickstep routine with Jonathan Kopatz at PA DanceSport. During that time I had a dance-off with Tom Russellof CBS 21, lifted cats and played a non-alcoholic “getting to know you” drinking game. I’m so glad I was able to bring PennLive readers along for the ride with my “So I THINK I Can Dance” blog.

The final result was more than I dreamed of – only a few minor mistakes in a really difficult routine.

While I didn’t lay claim to the mirrorball trophy – that honor went to Kendra Nichols of ABC 27 who truly wowed the crowd – I did get the experience of a lifetime. I’m going to have to get her to teach me how she does those splits sometime (and while I’m at it, I’m going to ask the Very Reverend Bob Gillelan how he managed to do a handstand).

I really, truly can’t believe I actually managed to learn how to dance. For once I don’t feel like that awful elephant my dance teacher back in high school said I was. In fact, judge and dance expert John Linderman pulled me aside later to tell me that I danced like a gazelle.

Lesson of the day: Jonathan Kopatz is a miracle worker.

You can see the full routine plus judges remarks and scores in the video above, which was kindly provided by CBS 21 and shot by Jesse Knutson.

Oh, and yes, I plan on keeping up the dancing. I hope to see you all on the dance floor!

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