Monday, April 27, 2015

Dancers bring the energy for the Dancing with the Staff finale - By Michelle Libby

Night two and the finale of Dancing with the Staff, the fundraiser for Project Graduation 2015, started off with a lot of excitement and friendly competition between fans in the audience rooting for their team to take home the trophy. 

Judges Kim McBride, Jennifer Breton and Ted Becker (a former Dancing with the Staff winner with the trophy to prove it) were not important for the scores they gave, but for the laughs they provided after every dance. The top teams going into the second night of competition were student teams Melissa Agneta and Griffin Jacobson (Griff J) and Meagan Griffeth and Matt Roy. The teacher teams were Danielle Burian and Michael Martin and Bill Diamond and Karen Tocci. 

Local dance schools, Dance Moves ME, Center of Movement and Center Stage, showcased their talents throughout the evening. 

The dancers blazed through their performances with energy and spark. “Emily, your hair should have its own zip code,” Breton said to dancer Emily Gagne. 

“Mrs. Breton, you have so much street cred, you are my most gangster friend,” McBride said eliciting laughter from the audience.

Favorites Martin and Burian had amazing lifts and throws and from the green shirts in the audience, they might corner the popular vote. “I hope they follow their hearts and vote for you,” said McBride.
Hawar Haddadi busted out the worm during his dance with Aiyanna Maciel. 

Adam Manzo and Kelly-Anne Rush did a sweet number that told a story about boy meets girl, boy gets girl, boy loses girl.  

Pat Leavitt and Eliza Palow wrapped up the first half of the show with a “strangly aggressive dance,” according to McBride. Becker suggested a “worm-off” between Leavitt and Haddadi. 

“I like the interaction between the students and the teachers,” said Lee Anne Carver from Westbrook.
“I think the judges are a hoot,” said Nancy Gonska of Windham. 

Student Taylor Mains liked that there were students in the competition this year. “It’s a lot of fun,” she said. 

Tom Nash, the master of ceremonies, and his former dance partner Debbie Hall danced a tribute to the late Toby Pennels. It was a serious, poignant moment in the competition. 
Matt Roy and Meagan Griffeth took to the stage and did an energetic dance. “Matt, you look like you’re good at picking things up and putting them down. Put in more lifts,” said Becker. 

A pregnant Tianna Burton and Beth Bubier danced to “Uptown Funk” gaining great comments from the judges. “You’re dancing is smoother than a fresh jar of skippy,” said Breton. 

Cassidy Mullins and Madi Roberts were very limber and since they are cheerleaders, Breton did a quick cheer for them complete with pomp oms. Becker added, “Cassidy, you have a quiz tomorrow, so you really should go home and study.” 

Bill Diamond and his daughter Karen Tocci went country with cowboy hats and boots to TROUBLE. “Leave it to a former educator to choose a song with spelling all the way through,” Breton said. 

Griff J and Melissa Agneta closed the show with their rendition of “You’re the one I want,” from Grease. It was entertaining and the audience loved it as much as the judges. Voting them the top student team. Top teacher dancer honors went to Manchester teachers Burian and Martin. 

The top people’s choice winners as determined by donations were Emma Gresh and Emily Gagne and Bill Diamond and Karen Tocci.

“I don’t think we even had to remember to smile,” said Burian, a teacher at Manchester School.

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