Tuesday, April 12, 2011
It’s more than a week later. Ten days after the big night.
And folks are still talking about it. We (the six of us) are still talking about it.
We left our comfort zones to do something we’d never done before.
We tripped the light fantastic.
Under the instruction of our able dance professionals, we managed to rumba, tango, salsa, fox trot, hustle and cha-cha our way through the evening. Catcalls and cheers, whistles and lots of applause from our supporters made it a fun evening as votes poured in for the favorites. The decorations were on target with enough glitz and lighting to make it work (I hear Pixie Melfi had a big hand in that).
But the real fun was backstage before the show started. We were devising plans to eliminate the pros so we’d have to close down the show. Were we nervous? Oh yeah. After weeks of practice and sore muscles and bruises, we were definitely nervous.
The dressing area was set up with water and soft drinks – and more once the bar opened.
The ARK volunteers took good care of us as we women dressed, sprayed hair and dazzled up our dresses with every piece of bling we’d brought from home. We had a certain deer in the headlights look that seemed universal to all the contestants – even the guys.
At some point backstage it occurred to us that we were actually going to go out there and perform in front of several hundred people with spotlights trained on every step (or misstep). Alone – with the instructor.
Oh yes. Panic was hovering just under the surface. Among the suggestions to stop the show were a kidnapping of the women’s teacher I dubbed Dan the Tango Man. We could lock him in a closet, which would let all the women contestants off the hook. Let the guys figure their own way out. The Arthur Murray teachers have no idea how close they came to calamity.
About then Ronnie Givens came back to wish us all luck – and to get a peek at the good Sen. Paul Campbell in his open-to-the-belt-buckle Saturday Night Fever shirt. We thought we were going to have to call for a medic to administer oxygen to RG he was laughing so hard. Once he left, we went back to the planning and scheming of how to get out of something that sounded like a great idea back in October when we all agreed to it.
We were down to the basics – we’d simply refuse to dance.
But when the show organizers came back and said it was time for the first couple to take the stage and the rest of us should wait in the dressing room, we all went a little nuts.
“You want us to stay back here and not watch Skip and Michelle dance?”
“No Way! I want to see Quince dance.”
“We’re not staying back here. We’re coming out to watch.”
“Miss my wife’s dance after all this. Right!”
(Looking back on it that was probably exactly what they wanted!)
Anyway, we all got through our dances, had a great time and have enjoyed all the chatter about the event during the last week or so.
We’re already making a list of ways (other than dancing) we can participate next year.
The list is growing ARK folks!
And it was all for a great cause, The ARK. According to ARK founder Peg Lahmeyer, the first-time event brought in a conservative estimate of $12,000 after expenses. The auction made about $7,400 and the voting on dancers made about $6,400. “We’re still waiting for some of the sponsor and auction money. And there’s still another bill or two I’m waiting on.”
The ARK was founded at St. Luke’s Lutheran Church in Summerville and led by Lahmeyer since its inception. The organization now serves five Lowcountry counties, providing family services for sufferers of Alzheimer’s and dementia. It also is reaching out to rural areas to help them set up similar programs for their communities.
And congratulations on coming up with a great idea.