Community members find hidden talents at fundraiser for Children’s Learning Center.
Marc Domsky and Macey Mott wow the crowd with their swing dance routine Saturday night at Hotel Terra during the “Dancing with the Jackson Stars” fundraiser for Children’s Learning Center. PRICE CHAMBERS / NEWS&GUIDEView our entire photo gallery >>
By Brielle Schaeffer, Jackson Hole, Wyo.
October 17, 2012
Defense attorney Dave DeFazio did the worm. Mayor Mark Barron effortlessly lifted his partner in a move worthy of the Ice Capades.
Carrie Kirkpatrick, executive director of Raising Girls, heated things up with her salsa moves.
Twirls, dips and sparkles dominated the floor of Hotel Terra’s ballroom Saturday as seven prominent community members paired with professional dancers dazzled the adoring crowd at “Dancing with the Jackson Stars.”
The Children’s Learning Center event based on the popular ABC television show had the teams competing against one another for charity.
“Ya’ll are in for a big treat tonight,” host Mark “Fish” Fishman said at the start of the program.
Fishman was playing the Tom Bergeron (the TV show’s host) character and cracking jokes throughout the evening.
“Most of you know some or all of the dancers,” he said.
They collectively spent 250 hours training, time spent away from jobs, families and children.
“Some of them enjoyed it, actually,” Fishman said.
The preschool and day care center changed its fundraiser this year from its traditional Wild Game Dinner, Executive Director Patti Boyd said. The dinner was the center’s steadfast fundraiser for decades, but she wanted to do something different.
The dancing event sold out weeks in advance, and a dress rehearsal also filled. The event raised $79,000, a huge boost from last year’s dinner, which netted $25,000. In fact, Saturday’s soiree raised more money than any previous fundraiser in the organization’s 40-year history, Boyd said.
She urged attendees to “vote with their hearts and checkbooks” as they sipped wine and munched on hearty hors d’oeuvres like lobster macaroni and cheese and cupcakes.
Her pleading worked. Before the dancing even started, an anonymous attendee donated $500 in $1 votes to each couple.
Mayor Barron and professional dancer Lisa Grant started the night off with an elegant dance to Adele’s “One and Only,” which climaxed with his sweeping lift.
“Mark, you have our vote in everything,” said judge Sara Flitner of Flitner Communications.
Barron admitted in the after-dance interview that it was easier to work with his constituents than dance in front of them.
The couples were judged on technical ability, choreography and overall performance. Attendees influenced the overall winner by voting for their favorite couples.
Karen Terra, owner of Jackson Hole Real Estate Associates, and ballroom dancing scholar Jim Joseph, who writes at IHateToDance.com, were up next. They twirled to an Elvis Presley song. Dozens of attendees wore custom-made black “Team Karen” T-shirts to show their support.
Terra was light on her feet. She was “beguiling and adorable,” said judge Missy Falcey, executive director of the Teton County Library Foundation.
Terra hadn’t danced since she was 16 but could still do a cartwheel, she told Fish.
And then she did. On the dance floor.
“That’s got to be worth $10,000,” Fish said.
Kirkpatrick and Dancers’ Workshop salsa instructor Jake Hodge twirled and dipped to Calle Real’s “Esperanza.”
Judge “Crazy Tom” Haigh of KMTN said he knew the dance was happening in Teton Village because it was too hot for inside town limits.
DeFazio and Dancers’ Workshop teacher and pro Kate Kosharek switched it up with smooth moves to a Michael Jackson medley. They even did the “Thriller” dance.
“I have never danced for a more excited crowd,” Kosharek said afterward.
The evening continued with swing dancing by anesthesiologist Mark Domsky and dancer/actress Macey Mott. They charmed the crowd with 1940s-style costumes and their moves to “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy,” despite Mott’s cracked kneecap.
“Doc, you put me to sleep twice, but tonight you knocked me out,” Haigh said.
Judy Singleton of J Singleton Financial sashayed her way through Frank Sinatra’s “Fly Me To The Moon” with professional dancer John Grant.
“I know Mr. Frank Sinatra is smiling down on Jackson Hole tonight,” Falcey said.
The competition ended with attorney Kelly Egan grooving to Ricky Martin’s “She Bangs” with professional Atilla Sandor.
Attendees were impressed with the bravery of the community members who competed in the fundraiser.
“I’d rather have a root canal than dance in front of 250 people,” Chelcie Jonke said.
In the end, Kirkpatrick and Hodge won overall for their spicy dance. Kirkpatrick also received best costume for a dramatic, beaded piece she rented from Las Vegas.
“This is a burqa compared to what some salsa dancers wear,” she joked with an admiring fan after.
Kirkpatrick, who was initially hesitant to compete, said the whole thing was an incredible journey.
“The icing on the cake is it is for an amazing cause,” she said. “Probably every nonprofit in town is kicking themselves they didn’t think of this.”
The real winners of the evening were the kids, Fish said. Indeed.
Sponsors offset the costs of the event so 100 percent of the earnings went to the kids, Boyd said.