Dancing like a fool … for a good cause

  • Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Journal Scene Publisher Ellen Priest practices her salsa routine with professional dance partner, Josh Ortiz from Carolina Dancesport.

If you haven't heard by now, I am a dancing fool.
On March 9, I will be strapping on my dancing shoes and performing, along with seven other celebrity dancers and our professional dance partners, to benefit the ARK.
The Dancing with the ARK Stars event is now in its third year. I guess they ran out of true celebrity dancers and had to resort to asking me.
I had great reservations about performing a dance routine in front of hundreds of people, mostly because, well, I can't dance.
Nope, not a lick. In fact, I look mostly spastic when I take to the dance floor and it's something my two children have tried to avoid have happen at all costs.
I had visions of my dance instructor, Josh Ortiz, turning me into a Julianne Hough from the other Dancing with the Stars, all grace and poise.
Less than two weeks from the event, I have come to grips with my talent, or lack thereof, and just hope to get through the routine without falling on my derriere.
My children and my husband would be truly appalled, but also greatly amused, should that happen.
But on March 9, I'll be dancing, to benefit the Alzheimer's Respite Care facility, or ARK as it is known. It is a great facility that serves the Tri-county area and beyond, and those of you who know Peg Laymeyer or Cheryl Moniz, know that they, and their small staff, pour their heart and souls into running a facility that serves Alzheimer and dementia patients, giving them a safe, loving place to go while their caregivers work or just get some much-needed rest. 75% of those attending do so on scholarship, and that is what I, and my fellow dancers, are raising much-needed funds for.
My husband had a great-aunt Edith who suffered from Alzheimer's. Her husband cared for her at home for years and often despite his vigilant attention, she would slip out of the house and he would find her outside. What a difference a facility like the ARK could have made in Uncle Freddy's life.
He also has an aunt who is currently suffering from this awful disease and is in an assisted living facility. She barely recognizes her children when they visit.
I also have a good friend whose mother committed suicide two years ago, and they will never know if that was her intent or if it was Alzheimer's that brought on that action.
She was a vibrant, loving woman who loved to laugh and paint, and her memories were slowly slipping away from her.
It is truly a slow goodbye as they say. Sufferers lose their ability to recognize loved ones long before they ever pass away. It is a sad disease that robs people of their greatest gift; the love shared with their families, by making them become strangers who come to visit, rather than loved ones.
So, I will be dancing in honor of Aunt Edith, Aunt Lorraine, and my friend's mom, and all those who suffer from this disease.
I told my friend that I will be dancing – however badly – in honor of her mother, and she said, no, you will be dancing boldly. So, dance boldly I shall.
The event will be held at Pinewood Prep at 7:00 pm. Tickets are on sale and votes can be placed for the dancers at $10 per vote at www.DancingWithTheArkStars.org. Tickets to the event are $50 per person in advance or $60 at the door and include heavy hors d'oeuvres, open bar, a silent auction, and ballroom dance demonstrations by Carolina Dancesport Dance Studios. Some sponsorships are also still available. Contact Cheryl Moniz at 832-2357 for more information.
The other seven dancers are Mildred Blanton, Con Chellis, Cammy Groome, Margie Pizzaro, Bill Summers, Richard Waring, and Jordy Tupper.
While I would love all of our readers to vote for me (hint, hint), the important thing is just that you vote and support this great event.
Your vote of $10 or more, is 100% tax-deductible. Of the $50 entry cost to the event, $15 is tax-deductible.
So, come out and be entertained on March 9th. You never know whom you might see fall on their derriere that night!

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