Dancers over 40's annual Spring Fling erupted into couple dancing to celebrate the ballroom dance community AND our DO40 members from the original cast of Michael Bennett's BALLROOM. Marge Champion was also on hand to reminisce about the 1975 TV-movie, QUEEN OF THE STARDUST BALLROOM, for which she won an Emmy for choreography. (The Broadway musical was based on this program.)
This was a first for DO40 – venturing below Canal Street to party at the Lafayette Grill and Bar on Franklin Street. The restaurant has ballroom and couples dancing nightly, from Greek to the Hustle, Belly Dancing to Tango. Daytime the restaurant also doubles as a classroom for those interested in learning more couples dancing. For more information, go to www.lafgrill.com.
A few other BALLROOM members couldn’t make it – Dorothy Lister, David Evans and Michael Vita. DO40 is compiling as many names as possible of BALLROOM members, in anticipation of a planned Michael Bennett panel and performance next year. Many of our members worked with Michael, either side by side (Advisory Board members Carol Lawrence and Valerie Harper) in SUBWAYS ARE FOR SLEEPING, or in a show choreographed by him (a list too long to repeat here!). DO40 member Joy Serio Dunbar was in Michael’s first Broadway outing as a choreographer, A JOYFUL NOISE. We will be contacting as many of our members as possible who worked with Michael to insure a great event – even if that means schlepping choreographer and director Bob Avian up from the good life in Florida to speak!
DO40 member Teddy Kern, owner of the dance studio Dance Manhattan, supplied DO40 with the dancers from her studio to perform for the crowd. Featured couples dancing were Lou Brock and Heather Gehring (Adagio Foxtrot), Michael Jagger and Evita Arce (Lindy Hop/Charleston), Marianna Parma and Omar (Argentine Tango) and special guests Lori Brizzi and John Marcie (do the Hustle!). After the performance, everyone go up and learned the Lindy!
Seen in the audience were Karin Baker and hubby Greg, Georgie Marcy, Mary Lou Barber, Lois Silk, Gregg Mayer and Lawrence Merritt – DO40 Board of Directors members all – as well as Jed Danforth, Darlene Larsen, Lee Hooper, Ron Young, Nicole Barth, Janice Herbert, new member Clare Demming, Virginia Siedell, Felicia Velasco, Susan Sigrist, Terrence Murphy, Annette Macdonald, Gene Gavin, Leni Anders, Norma Doggett Bezwick (from SEVEN BRIDES… and MAGDALENA), as well as our crack P.R. maven, Audrey Ross.
DO40 member Carol Sundquist donated an original framed window poster of BALLROOM, and the four original cast members signed it on stage. It will be auctioned off at DO40 table at the Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS Flea Market on September 27th. And if we can get a few more names on it before the event, we will!!
Another long-time member, Virginia Siedell reminded us of those BALLROOM cast members no longer here, especially her friend, actress Marilyn Cooper, who died earlier this year. Very important to remember – to preserve and present the history, the legacy and the lives of these creative artists – an important DO40 mission.
At the end of Marge Champion’s discussion of QUEEN OF THE STARDUST BALLROOM, she mentioned she was entering her 90th year. President John Sefakis congratulated her and announced that the Board of Directors had JUST voted in a new membership category for DO40 – free memberships for those 90 and above! What a coincidence! DO40 wishes Marge all the best in this fabulous coming year!
The Lafayette Grill and Bar’s buffet was a hit with the audience, and the first hour of socializing was a great idea! Then it was on to the performances, the BALLROOM reminiscences and the Lindy demo! A big bang for the buck! Well, the 10 bucks for those members attending!
So ends another record-setting year for DO40 – that kicked off with DO40’s second appearance at the BC/EFA Flea Market last September, and continued with the Jack Cole: Alive and Kicking panel and performance featuring Chita Rivera, the Winter Holiday party with 21 dancers from the Radio City Music Hall Corps de Ballet and ended with the Michael Kidd Rides Again panel – and the Spring Fling! Phew! Pretty good stuff for a small, upstart organization! But to continue doing all these events on our limited budget, we need more members! And more volunteers! Please get the word out – tell two friends to tell two friends – and help make DO40 a bigger and more diverse organization!
DO40 members Nicole Barth, Lee Hooper, Janice Herbert, Ron Young and out-of-town guest Suzy Jary (formerly with CTFD) enjoy the show from the “Loge!”
The crowd watching the ballroom dancers.
Karin Baker and hubby Greg, with Marge Champion and Frank Pietri taking in the Tango dancers.
Evita Arce and Michael Jagger doing the Lindy.
DO40 member Teddy Kern introducing her ballroom dancers.
Our very own DO40 doyennes at the door, Lois Silk and Gregg Mayer. Below, Teddy Kern (lower right) and her Dance Manhattan dancers, who donated their time to perform for DO40 at the Spring Fling.
Argentine Tango dancers