ERIK STEELE

Dance with me

Posted March 01, 2012, at 2:11 p.m.

If Fred Astaire had danced the way I do he would have been known as Fred Asterisk, footnoted in the history of Hollywood as an actor with four left feet. A hooked trout flopping on the shore has more rhythm than I do. However, in part to beat my ego like a dusty rug, I occasionally cut one. With a partner. To music. All at the same time. If I only had to do two of those three things simultaneously I might be OK.

So what am I doing planning to dance soon in front of hundreds of people? I’m shaking it for shekels, that’s what, raising money in the 2012 Dancing For The Stars fundraising benefit for the Bangor-based, nonprofit Phillips-Strickland House retirement center on Saturday evening, March 17. My dance partner and I will step out with five other couples in a competition that’s part of a public evening of fabulous food, great fun and music, all for a great cause. After our competition you, too, can shake it up, baby, and dance the night away to the band Retrorockerz.

When I was asked to participate in Phillips-Strickland’s Dancing For The Stars benefit I said, “Yes,” only because I figured there might be a pill I could take that could make jelly beans dance like Kelly, (Gene). With that and perhaps Tonya Harding as a dance partner to help whittle down the competition, I might have a shot at winning. Alas, there is no such no pill, and Tonya is not available, so my chance of victory initially seemed dim to none.

Then, good news. First, my dance partner is Kelly Fitzpatrick of Bangor’s River City Dance Center, one of the six professional dancers from the area donating their time and talent to the contest. Kelly could make a Kalashnikov dance like Barishnikov, and can therefore make even this doctor of dysrhythmia salsa in sync with a partner to the same song. (We will both be in black — if you have trouble telling the two of us apart, do what I do while dancing; watch our feet. She will be the one wearing steel-toed construction boots with spiked heels, I will be the one stepping on them.)

The second piece of good news? I don’t actually have to be that good for us to win because the judges for this contest don’t get all of the votes. You can also vote, and help stuff the ballot box on my behalf in two ways. You can join us, pay $40 for your ticket to the whole evening (fabulous food included), and say you are voting for me. Your money goes to the Phillips-Strickland House, but it buys 40 votes for me.

Or you can buy additional votes while there for a buck apiece. Now, I don’t want your vote riding solely on my performance that night (that’s too risky) so I will also be selling Dances with the Doctor to the Retrorockerz tunes for additional votes — let’s say $10 a pop minimum? Just be able to dance the only thing I really know, which is some disco move I picked up from the movie “Saturday Night Fever” in 1977.

If I’ve written something over the past 17 years in this column that’s really ticked you off (that’s got to be every reader but my mother), this is your chance for revenge; you can vote for my competition. They are Jennifer Khavari, Maria Baeza, Lynda Rohman, Dale Hamilton, and Ben Sprague, and their respective professional dance partners Tyler Evans, David Lamon, Matt Sevey, Sue Stone, and Stevie Dunham.

Whoever you vote for, and whoever you dance with, consider joining us Saturday, March 17, at the Bangor Auditorium and Civic Center for the Phillip-Strickland House’s crucial fundraiser. With enough foot stomping and good times we should be able to bring down the civic center’s old roof so Cianbro will not have to do that job when it tears the place down next year. And if you cannot join us, support some other good cause instead on March 17. Doing something good for someone else makes us all feel like dancing.

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