Greater Dayton LGBT Center Presents Evening Of Ballroom Dancing.
By Deborrah Adams
This year “When the Stars Come Out!” (WTSCO), Dayton’s take on the hit reality TV show Dancing with the Stars, will be infused with the kick of a variety show in a new location, The Dayton Woman’s Club, 225 N. Ludlow Street.
The event, founded by PFLAG Dayton president Jan Couchman to increase awareness of the gay community while raising scholarship funds and financial support for the Greater Dayton LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) Center, will be held Saturday, October 2. The event particularly kicks-off the Dayton area’s National Coming Out Day celebrations on Monday, October 11 focusing on awareness and discussion about LGBT issues.
“I was blown away by the response of the first year,” said Couchman. “So many people stepped forward to help out and everyone gives of themselves to make it a success … (The event) encompasses the best in our community: PFLAG parents and members, members of the Greater Dayton LGBT Center, members of the LGBT community and our straight allies all work together to create a wonderful experience for everyone involved. Also, the competitors are so supportive of each other. It’s a competition but when they aren’t on the stage the competitors are in the audience cheering for each other.”
PFLAG Dayton according to Couchman “is one of the strongest (chapters) nationwide; and the first to give a Straight-Ally Scholarship. The straight allies are important to getting our message across.”
Providing commentary and entertainment throughout the evening will be judges: Mike Neubecker, PFLAG National vice president; Ann Wilger, PFLAG Dayton member and mom; and Jonathan McNeal, manager of the Neon Movies and member of the Rubi Girls drag troupe. The winners will be selected by the audience who purchase votes for their favorites. This means the couple who brings in the most votes also brings in the most money; so the crowd becomes an important part of the show.
This year salon-type variety show segments titled “Dayton’s Got Talent” have been added between competitors. The acts will include a singer, a musician and a stand-up comic to entertain the audience during transitions. In addition, Elizabeth Apesos and David Rosario from Always Ballroom Dance Studio will perform a ballroom dance exhibition.
“This is an event anyone can attend. It’s family-friendly and just a fun event,” according to Couchman. “There are 10 couples from among members of PFLAG and LGBT; parents and straight allies are training for this year’s competition.” There is a blend of new and repeat competitors, many meeting with Johnny Glaze, a private instructor and former dancer on the television show Dance Fever, who volunteers his time for 8-10 weeks to help the
Glaze said he got involved “when an acquaintance told me Jan (Couchman) was looking for an independent (dance) teacher. I’m (unusual) in that I am independent now although I started with Fred Astaire in New York in 1981. I like to take new dancers and introduce them to the basics. I love to watch people develop a love and passion for dance.”
“My trainees, are ‘my babies’ and I feel a ‘papa’s pride’ when I see them on stage” he said. “All of the couples (routines) are based in ballroom (but) more theatrical than earlier … this is their baby dream so they choose their own music and create original costumes. But there is a formal or a ‘royal feel’ with many couples choosing to dress the male role in a tux. For me, this event is about giving back. I teach dancers but I am also a chef in a home health care setting. It also provides scholarships for two individuals. This event is put on by a good group of people doing the right thing.”
Returning this year to defend their crown will be Rebecca Lincoln and Margaret Correale, last year’s winners with an Argentine tango. “The win came as a complete surprise” according to Correale who said they learned about the event through co-worker Jillian Tegtmeyer. “We were drawn for two reasons” said Correale. “It’s an opportunity to do volunteer work in a fun way … and (we) wanted to learn ballroom dance.”
For their second appearance at WTSCO the couple has been working with Glaze to prepare a classic ballroom waltz. The couple is dedicating this year’s dance to Correale’s father, whose early death left his dream of dancing with her mother on their 50th anniversary unfulfilled, and grandmother.
Also, among this year’s competitors will be Bryce Thomas, a past recipient of a PFLAG Scholarship, who will share what the scholarship and the WTSCO event has meant to him and his future.
When the Stars Come Out! will be held Saturday, October 2 at 7:30 p.m. at the Dayton Woman’s Club, 225 N. Ludlow St. Tickets, priced at $25 per person which includes five votes and the after-party, are available at the door or in advance by e-mailing Barb Collins at email@example.com
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