Look Who’s Cutting A Rug
by Allan Appel | Feb 13, 2012 9:11 am
A New Haven police detective dipped and swayed in a flouncy white skirt over a leotard, and a barefoot media maven told a “story without words.”
The affecting dances unfolded Saturday night at the The Cascade ballroom, where a New Haven crowd of more than 200 oohed and ah-ed as eight non-dance professionals from police and probation officers to a cosmetologist and a high school principal were paired with professional dance instructors in a benefit performance.
The aim was to help launch a new organization dedicated to aiding people in dire health or other hope-diminishing distress fulfill one of their lifelong dreams.
The program was dubbed “Dancing with the Professionals.” It was the first formal fundraising event to benefit Dreams Come True for You, an organization established in 2010 by retired New Haven police Detective Robin Higgins.
After retiring, Higgins found the impulse to serve others still alive and well. She helped her sister fulfill a lifelong dream to travel to Hawaii while she struggled with debilitating sarcoidosis.
After she put the story on Facebook, Higgins connected with someone who has a daughter struggling with HIV. “In July [last year] we sent mom and daughter on a cruise,” said Higgins as she hurried about The Cascade ballroom Saturday night readying judges and dancers for her inventive riff on Dancing with the Stars.
Then there was the most recent beneficiary: an older woman suffering from kidney failure whose lifelong dream was to go to a choir competition. She and her daughter went to one, in Washington, D.C., courtesy of Higgins and her small group.
To help more people, Higgins said, she has decided to formally make her organization into an official not-for-profit.
Hence the first fundraiser Saturday night, complete with three professional judges—well-known local dance teachers Shari Caldwell, Alisa Bowens, and Stephen Hankey.
The slow dances were performed before the dinner’s main course, the fast dances afterwards. After each dance the judges scored the daring terpsichoreans by holding up a white board with a number. Three tens were the best you could get.
That perfect score was achieved by cosmetologist Tina Foreman and her dance partner Ronald McCoy for the waltz they performed. Just as on TV, the judges offered public reviews as the nervous couple stood before them.
Judge Hankey complimented them on their “beautiful lines” through which he could feel their energy. Judge Bowens said the romance the couple evoked was just right for Valentines Day weekend.
Tom Ficklin, age 63, said he had never danced publicly before but would do it again, thanks to his inspirational partner and teacher. They received three nines for a score of 27 out of 30. Caldwell said it was a pleasure to see a “senior dancer” release and express himself so well. Bowens said: “Mr. Ficklin, you told a story without words.”
They were dancing, as were several other couples, to gospel or liturgical songs. In the case of Ficklin and Claxton, the tune was “The Moment No. One” by Kirk Franklin.
Robin Higgins estimated that the evening’s net for Dreams Come True For You would be about $3,000. Those wishing to contribute or learn more can call her at 203-214-8528.
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