The eighties were alive last Thursday night as couples took the stage at Windham High School to kick up their heels to raise money for Project Graduation 2015, a chem free overnight for graduates. From Superintendent Sandy Prince and his partner Darcie McDuffie to Manchester School favorites Danielle Burian and Michael Martin, the dances were lively and entertaining.
“It’s just a good time for everybody,” said RSU14 cameraman Gary Harriman. “The people who come and the people who participate have fun.”
This year, Dancing with the Staff added in student dance couples, which also drew in younger audience members.
“I just enjoy watching the staff,” said audience member Noelle Fone, who never misses a DWTS performance.
Each couple had their own cheering crowd, but no more than Burian and Martin, who had florescent green T-shirts for all of the Manchester School staff in attendance. They danced to “Walk This Way” by Run DMC.
Director of Windham – Raymond Adult Education Tom Nash was the master of ceremonies and kept the show moving right along. Although Nash was not dancing for the first time in years, he did manage to squeeze in a little number with two women he pulled out of the audience.
“It’s fun and funny,” said audience member Joyce Logan.
Beth Gaudet from Center Stage organized choreographers for all couples who needed one and also worked with her own studio and the Center for Creative Movement in Gorham as they performed a handful of group numbers.
Former state senator Gary Plummer, Rep. Mark Bryant and Rep. Patrick Corey were all on hand to help encourage the audience to vote – To vote for their favorite dancers by putting money in a bucket with their name on it. Senator Bill Diamond and daughter Karyn Tocci won the People’s Choice award and Emily Gagne and Emma Gresh came in second.
Judges, there for the comic relief more than points, were Stephanie Bubier, Kim McBride and Jack Giampino.
Elizabeth Bubier and Tianna Bubier danced to “Wake Me Up” by Wham. “You hit the jackpot with that jaunty, jingle,” said McBride.
Adam Manzo and Kelly-Anne Rush danced to a 80s mash up. “They win just for the music,” said one audience member. McBride gave them the “stash award” for Adam’s moustache.
Heather Libby and Rod Nadeau danced to “Love Shack” but Libby’s dress stole the show in this number. “They looked like they were having so much fun,” said judge Bubier.
Diamond and Tocci did some “Old Time Rock n Roll” and were not above using all of the grandchildren to ask for votes.
For student couples, Hawar Haddadi and Aiyanna Maciel did a self-choreographed Michael Jackson number including sparkly gloves. Gagne and Gresh danced to an 80s mix and ended with umbrellas with “It’s Raining Men.” Melissa Agneta and Griffin Jacobson held out for hero with Jacobson dressed in Superman attire. Pat Leavitt and Eliza Palow danced to “Girls Just Want to Have Fun.” Cassidy Mullins and Madi Roberts had original choreography and danced to a few songs. “I could give it the square root of -1. It’s unreal,” said Giampino. Meagan Griffeth and Matt Roy shook it to “Busta Move”.
Superintendent Prince and McDuffie, who danced to “Flashdance”, “Maniac”, “Another one Bites the Dust” and “Whip It” were eliminated at the end of the performance, but the rest of the couples will be moving on to the finale on April 15 at 7 p.m. at the Windham Performing Arts Center. “Mr. Prince shaking his booty…I can never unsee that,” said McBride.