Act 2: Dancing Like a Star
Eight amateur couples competed in this second annual event, which drew 700 people—a sellout crowd—to the ballroom of the Springfield Country Club in Springfield, Delaware County. Martin Fay of Havertown, whose daughters play with the Delco Gaels, and Geana Morris of South Philadelphia, whose dancing was influenced, she said, by movie musicals and 12 years with the Mummers, were named the winners at the end of the evening, after a comical star turn as the Blues Brothers.
The judges, who included Wayne Saint David, jazz department head at the University of the Arts; Carole Orlandi Barr, of the Orlandi School of Dance, and Barr’s granddaughter, Jenna Rose Pepe, who teaches at Orlandi and competes herself as a dancer, chose Sean Brady and Kathy Konieczny as their top dancers of the night.
It was a tough call. The couples, who performed two Latin dances and whose individual dances called to mind everything from “The Honeymooners” (Mary Patrick and Joe Roan, who many of the dancers thought were the biggest competition going into the evening) to the ‘50s Beatnik era (Cecelia Quarino and John Kildea) to the Sinatra years (Mary Kay Bowden and Hank Clinton), learned their lessons well from choreographers Jennifer Cleary and Lisa Oster. They also practiced for more than 6 weeks.
One competitor, Sinead Bourke, a 21-year-old psychology major at West Chester University, followed her father, Pat, into the dance contest—he was a crowd hit last year. Her partner was Brian Anderson, a roofer from Ridley Township whose personal note in the program read, “Where the hell am I and how did I get here?
There was at least one experienced dancer in the group: Maureen Heather Lisowski, the daugher of the late Maureen McDade McGrory, founder of the McDade School of Irish Dance, is a teacher at McDade and also instructs the Second Street Irish Society dancers. Her partner was Stevie Robinson, formerly of County Derry, who plays Gaelic football for the St. Patrick’s team in Philadelphia.
And Fred Rigsby, a manager at Market Intelligence and Corporate Research, got to mimic his idol, Michael Jackson, in the number he did with his partner, Eileen Reavy, from Havertown, a math teacher who is now a stay-at-home mom.
The Delco Gaels is the largest and longest established Gaelic youth club in Pennsylvania. Hundreds of children ages 4 to 17 participate in Gaelic football, hurling, and camogie both indoors and outdoors throughout the year. They regularly compete in the Feile Peil na nOg, or Feile, a national festival of Gaelic football for boys and girls under 14, held annually in a host county in Ireland. The proceeds from “Dancing Like a Star” helps fund that trip and other things the club needs.
The organizing committee comprises Carmel Bradley, Una McDaid, Fionnuala McBrearty, Lorna Corr, Leigh Anne McCabe, Trish Daly, Anne Bourke, Aisling Travers, Anna Bonner, and Ethel McGarvey. Louie Bradley is the chairperson of the Delco Gaels.
This year’s host for the evening was Fox TV’s Jennaphr Frederick.