Monday, November 30, 2009


The Fred Astaire Dance Studio in Manasquan, New Jersey is hosting a holiday fundraiser on Sunday, December 13, 2009 from 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. to benefit the Food Banks in Monmouth & Ocean counties. The community is invited to donate any canned goods or other non-perishable food items at their official drop point in the Orchards at Wall shopping plaza, next to Pier 1 Imports. Dance director Britt Matthews says monetary donations are also welcomed.

“Attendees who donate money for the food bank will have their contribution matched by our Fred Astaire Studio,” notes Matthews. “In addition, all donors will receive a raffle ticket for prizes throughout the day, but monetary donors will receive an extra ticket as an even bigger incentive.”

Vendors offering last minute holiday items and donating a portion of their sales include Pampered Chef, Mary Kay Cosmetics, Sipada, Daizu Soy Candles and Fred Astaire Studio. Door prizes will be donated by The Mill, Algonquin Theatre, Hand & Stone Massage, Fred Astaire Studio, Garrow Family Chiropractic, Broadway Ray, and much more. If you’re looking to sell your gold, bring your jewelry and speak with a gold expert! Dancers from Fred Astaire Studio will perform dance demonstrations throughout the afternoon. Any new students who purchase the Fred Astaire Introductory Special that day, Fred Astaire Studio will donate 100% of those proceeds to the Food Bank. Refreshments will be served throughout the day as well.

For additional information contact Fred Astaire Studio at 732-528-0151.

Monday, November 23, 2009

How Do They Do It? It's All In The Bottle!

According to a recent news article published in The Wall Street Journal, the cast of Dancing With The Stars goes through more than six gallons of spray-tan liquid each 10-week season!

Contestants and professional dancers get sprayed down the Sunday before each televised competition. Depending on the dance they are performing, the makeup artists apply a specific tone of tan. Latin dances like the Rumba call for darker shades while hands, necks, and ankles are mainly worked on for dances like the Waltz and Foxtrot since most of the body is covered.

Self tanners take six to eight hours to set and wears off after a week.

There is a rumor that in Season 6 (2008), contestant Jason Taylor, who is African-American, had to get spray tanned because his professional dance partner, Edyta Sliwinska had over-sprayed and was darker than he was!

Top Dancers Are In New York!

The staff at the New York East Fred Astaire Dance Studio are not only great teachers, but top dancers as well! We proudly congratulate them on their tremendous success at the National Dance Championships in Orlando, Florida.
Sonya Fil and Eugene Graev, 2009 Fred Astaire National Vice Champions in Open Professional International Latin
Galina Detkina and Mikhail Zharinov, 2009 Fred Astaire National Champions in Open Professional American Smooth
Radostina Gerova and Plamen Danailov, 2009 Fred Astaire National Champions in Open Professional International Latin

News From Milwaukee

The Fred Astaire Dance Studio in Brookfield, Wisconsin is carrying on the tradition of excellence set by our co-founder, Mr. Fred Astaire. Studio owner Albina Habrle, along with her new partner of 10 months, Ricky Bentzen, placed fifth in American Rhythm at the most prestigious competition in the United States, the United States Dance Championships 2009! Professional competitive dancing is an important part of the studio’s makeup. In all major competitions and national events across the country, dancers from the Milwaukee Central studio and other studios in the surrounding area strongly represent Fred Astaire Dance Studios! For example, at the AAC 2009, the top five winners of the American Rising Star Rhythm Championship were all from either Milwaukee or Chicago! In Albina’s studio alone, all but two of the nine staff members there are active professional competitors. Albina is able to pursue her dancing due, in large part, to the help of her well-organized studio manager, Nicholas Plante. Additionally, Albina credits all of her staff members for her successes: “I owe so much to my staff. Most of them have been with me since day one.” Although the studio had been in the same location for the past 12 years, they moved into a much bigger facility this year due to their expanding student body! Doubling the size of their old studio, their new facility is 10,000 square feet with a large master ballroom and junior ballroom. Congratulations to Albina and all the hardworking staff members in the Milwaukee Central studio for a wonderful year!

New Studio in Princeton, New Jersey

The glitz… the glamour… the music… the passion has finally come to Princeton, New Jersey. Fred Astaire Franchise Dance Studios is proud to announce the grand opening of their Princeton studio, conveniently located in the Princeton Shopping Center. Owned and operated by Professional Dance Champions Ilya Ifraimov and Nadia Goulina and Fred Astaire National Champion Millie Dhirmalani, this studio offers top-notch training for their students. The studio features a full-size ballroom, including a separate area for group classes, showcase dances, and wedding choreography. The chic, city-like décor, complimented by state-of-the-art lights and sound systems, and the fully certified staff provides a professional atmosphere for their students. On Saturday October 3, 2009 the Fred Astaire staff held an Open House from 11:00-6:00 p.m. The open house began with the official ribbon cutting ceremony by Mayor Bernard Miller. Afterwards, the studio hosted free group classes, social dancing, and an evening of showcase dance performances by both professionals and amateurs.

Spotlight On...Greg Fidurski & Gabriela Jileva

By Catherine Brill, Fred Astaire Dance Studios copywriter

Greg Fidurski and Gabriela Jileva have it all – a thriving studio combined with a distinguished competitive dancing career. Although their workday schedules are structured and rigorous, with mornings devoted strictly to dancing and the rest of the day to running their studio, they are able to successfully balance the challenges of studio ownership and the intensity of competing with enthusiasm and good cheer.

Dance partners and co-owners of the Morristown, New Jersey studio, both Greg and Gabriela (“Gaby”) have years of experience in dance. Gaby started dancing and competing at the young age of 10 in her native country of Bulgaria where she won the National Open International Standard title and represented Bulgaria in the World Cup Championships. Greg has danced for the past 24 years. Originally from Poland, Greg was the Polish National Youth and Open International Standard Champion, representing his country in many international championships while running a dance studio for children there. When Gaby moved to the United States eleven years ago, she began teaching at the Fred Astaire Dance Studio in Upper Montclair, New Jersey; Greg, arriving in the U.S. a few years later, taught at an independent studio before moving to our organization. They began to dance together in 2006, and it became quickly apparent that their partnership was a winning combination.

A month after competing for the fi rst time at a New York/New Jersey regional competition, they won the National Fred Astaire Open International Standard Championship. After dancing less than year together, they were National Rising Star fi nalists. In 2007, they became International Standard Rising Star vice-champions as well as Masters World Cup finalists and Classic Show Dance vicechampions. In 2008, for the third time in three years, they became Fred Astaire National Open International Standard Champions, Rising Star Standard vice-champions, and World Masters vice-champions.

As if this wasn’t enough, they recently decided to add Smooth style dancing to their repertoire. At this year’s NDC, they placed 4th in the American Open Smooth division!

“I have the best partner in the world. We are really a great team,” Gaby says.

Their commitment to our national competitions is unwavering. For the past three years, Gaby and Greg have competed in nearly every single Fred Astaire national competition, missing only one because of a flight cancellation!

Of their performance at last year’s United States Dance Championships, Armando Martin, our National Dance Director, noted: “Although the standard competitions didn’t produce any FADS winners, it was a great showcase ... Greg and Gaby … were in the final of the Open to the World Rising Star competition and were also second in the Standard Showdance. This couple’s expression and musicality truly sets them apart when they are on the floor. Greg’s happy-go-lucky personality is always a refreshing sight on the Standard floor…”

Greg and Gaby opened a brand new Fred Astaire Dance Studio in Morristown, New Jersey. Their studio has been running for over two years now and is only getting stronger. According to Gaby, “We have the best staff anyone could dream of.”

Over the years, they have found that it is the people associated with our organization who make all the difference. Along with Antoinette Benevento and Rae Josephs, Gaby gives special credit to her mentor, Kay Connors. “If there’s a reason why I’m with Fred Astaire, her name is Kay Connors. It’s hard to disappoint people when they believe in you. You don’t want to disappoint them, and I don’t want to disappoint Kay.”

Along with working on their Smooth and Standard dancing, their main goal for the upcoming years is to develop their studio to its fullest potential. We have no doubt that they will achieve this with their usual determination, energy, and drive.

Dancing With The Dedham Stars


Six prominent residents to strut their stuff, and all for a good cause - boosting the local schools
By Michele Morgan Bolton, Globe Correspondent November 22, 2009

Selectman Jim MacDonald is known for his careful and conservative approach to issues and, in his own words, is something of a stiff.
So the 2-minute, 20-second routine he’s rehearsing to perform, in costume, with a partner, in front of practically the whole town, is a leap outside his comfort zone. To say the least.

“I said, ‘I don’t dance,’ ’’ the six-term selectman stressed as he recounted a chat with Dimitria Sullivan, president of the Dedham Educational Partnership, the nonprofit that’s sponsoring the second annual “Dancing With the Dedham Stars.’’

“She said, ‘That’s OK.’ And I said, ‘No. You don’t understand. I really don’t dance.’ ’’

But after several months of ballroom dancing lessons and countless rehearsals, MacDonald and five other prominent Dedham residents will take to the floor at Moseley’s and trip the light fantastic on Dec. 5 to raise money for the partnership.

“It’s so out of character for people who know me,’’ said MacDonald, who is a lawyer. “I am a strait-laced and by-the-books kind of guy. My wife has been trying to get me to dance for 30 years.’’

For such a regimented soul, MacDonald is coming around and learning to let down his guard. When he first met with dance partner Taylor Gough, he had some difficulty unwinding. But the rhythm soon started to take over.
“It’s really about getting the steps, getting the moves,’’ he said. “Well, I just do what she tells me to do.’’

Last year’s event, which raised $18,000 for the group for a variety of initiatives at the public schools, was so popular that tickets to this year’s version sold out in a week. The names on the dance card were chosen by a four-person DEP committee that put together a large list of potential dancers from all over town.

“Basically, they were who we thought would bring people in,’’ Sullivan said. “And we wanted it to be as inclusive of as many groups as there are.’’
Some weight went to the bucketload of e-mails that poured in after last year’s show from people who said they’d love to be picked.

But the final lineup has come down to: MacDonald; Dedham High School nurse Maria Antonuccio; Oakdale School principal Holli Armstrong; former Dedham police officer and school resource officer Richard Huyler; Jen Polito of the Dedham Housing Authority; and former Department of Public Works director Archie DeVirgilio.

Gough attended the show last year because her father was one of the judges, and a few friends were in the group dance at the start of the show. She started dancing at Paulette’s Ballet Studio in Newton at age 3 and joined the teaching faculty part time in 2000. The rest of the time, Gough is a cardiac nurse at Newton-Wellesley Hospital.

“When Dimitria asked me about working with Jim, I was thrilled,’’ Gough said. “I really am glad I didn’t partner with anyone else. He’s catching on great and taking it all in stride.’’

Gough said MacDonald’s nerves were obvious at first. “But he’s been gaining confidence and is starting to seem comfortable with choreography. We’re both just looking to have a good time with this fund-raiser and are definitely looking forward to showing what we got.’’

Dancers are required to keep the particular style of dance they choose secret until the big night. So while MacDonald would not go on the record with his pick, he did offer this: “Taylor originally told me I seemed like a disco type of guy.’’

He laughed deeply: “Uhh . . . no.’’

Whatever happens on Dec. 5, what will probably go down in the memory books this year is Armstrong’s reaction when she learned she had been picked.

In a video posted by committee members to publicize the event, Armstrong is chatting on the phone at her desk when the committee materializes in front of her, carrying balloons like the Publisher’s Clearinghouse Prize Patrol.

Once she realizes what is happening, Armstrong lets loose a high-pitched scream and drops the phone.

On the other end was fellow principal Clare Sullivan of the Avery School.
Armstrong quickly remembers with whom she was speaking and grabs the phone back. Later the video shows her offering some dance moves in her office. A natural at performing, Armstrong also teaches a musical theater class after school. She said she was so taken with last year’s Dancing with the Dedham Stars performance that she “joked’’ with others about how she’d better be picked this year.

“I’m a little competitive,’’ she admitted. “I keep telling everyone I’m in it to win it. But I know it’s all about the kids.’’

Armstrong has been practicing with partner Martin Rycroft at the Fred Astaire Studio in Norwood two to three times a week. And while she said she doesn’t generally get nervous when she performs, “On the 5th? I think I may feel a little nauseous.’’

Sullivan said what made last year’s event so worthwhile, besides the generous proceeds, was the standing ovation at the end. That’s DEP’s goal, she said, to bring schools and the community together.
“The crowd just exploded,’’ she said. “And the dancers realized what they can do. That’s the beauty of the whole thing.’’

Although tickets have sold out, donations can be sent to the Dedham Educational Partnership at 100 Whiting Ave., Dedham, MA 02026. More information is available at Michele Morgan Bolton can be reached at

Friday, November 20, 2009

My Golden Dancers

Uplift Yourself and Go Forth

By Elita Sohmer Clayman
My mother had six siblings, two sisters and four brothers. Her sister Ruth and her brother George were born blind. The two blind children went to the Maryland School for the Blind and then on to regular high schools where they excelled. They were like one of the first handicapped children to go to a sighted school as it was called.
They both had wonderful jobs and married spouses who had their sight. My aunt Ruth learned to cook, keep a clean home, and she was a fantastic knitter. She knitted all her dresses and many coats and they were of different yarn colors and were full of intricate knitting patterns. People who met her could not believe that a sightless lady could knit like that. George was a medical secretary for the well known doctors at Johns Hopkins Hospital. The respected doctors always requested that George do their transcription.These two relatives of mine did not let their disabilities take away from their lives. They did volunteer work for organizations and were loved by their relatives and friends and their spouses. My brother and I adored Uncle George and we saw him often since he lived in Baltimore. Aunt Ruth lived in New York City where she went to the Broadway plays every month. She sat there and loved to go to the theater. She saw Richard Burton live in a Broadway play and wrote him a note how she adored him and could not see him. He wrote her back how proud he was she enjoyed the play.
Many seniors who go dancing cannot dance the way they did when perhaps they were younger. Some still go and sit there and maybe dance once or twice during the afternoon or evening. They still enjoy being there and socializing; getting out is a big thing in their day. One lady I know could not dance at all because of some orthopedic problems. She would come with her husband and he would dance with some other ladies and she sat there smiling and happy just to be in that environment.
An acquaintance of mine used to get up every morning and make a list of the doctors she was going to that day. One day it would be the podiatrist (that was ok because she did do some ballroom dancing and needed her feet to be in good shape.) The next day it was the dermatologist because she had a sore on her back. The next day it would be the internist because she had some aches and pains. The next day it was the orthopedic doctor because her knees hurt. She made the rounds of all the doctors.
She got to know the secretaries at these doctor’s offices very well and made sure she kept in good speaking friendships with them so she could call and insert herself into an appointment when she wanted it. One day she woke up and said to herself, no doctors today. Today I will go and do some ballroom dancing. I will take a lesson, I will look at a pair of new ballroom dance shoes, and I will practice with my husband in the family room. I will not go to a doctor this week.
That was quite a new method of living for her. No doctors, no secretaries, no driving to various offices. The only driving she did that week was for her dancing activities. She got excellent exercise; her mind did not think about illness and you KNOW WHAT? She felt physically good all that week. She decided she would frequent the doctor offices only when and if she really needed it. She would not go there to be reassured that everything was ok when in her heart she knew it was fine.
Ballroom dancing is like a good drug. It stimulates your mind; it exercises your feet, arms and neck. It enhances your good thoughts and it raises your esteem in your own mind. You are not sick, you need no doctors today, and you can and are surviving at this senior passage of time. Ballroom dancing is a stimulant that is good for your soul and keeps your mind active. Even if you go and sometimes sit out some or all dances, just going takes good courage. You are special and you do not need a medical person to tell you that everything is FINE. You know yourself that you are a good person and if you are feeling well enough to go out and dance or do dance activities, you are a golden senior, not a senile senior. That is the best gift you can give to yourself.
Keep on Dancing

Monday, November 16, 2009

Melissa Rycroft is returning to Dancing With The Stars.
According to ET Online, the Bachelor star, who competed in the show's eighth season, will perform an encore routine with partner Tony Dovolani tomorrow night, reports ET Online.
"We have had one practice. It was about two hours at 10pm on Tuesday night after the last show," she explained.

"I'm excited to go back. I love everybody, I love the show."

Rycroft's fiancé Tye Strickland added: "She is amazing. It took her 30 minutes to learn the whole dance and she already has it down."

The 26-year-old finished in third place behind actor Gilles Marini and Olympic gymnast Shawn Johnson.

The Dancing With The Stars semi-final airs tonight on ABC.

Fred Astaire or Gene Kelly?

From the Philadephia Inquirer:

The great debate: Fred Astaire vs. Gene Kelly
From Carrie Rickey's "Flickgrrl"

They are thesis and antithesis. Fred Astaire defies gravity; Gene Kelly is earthbound. Astaire is spirit; Kelly flesh. Astaire is the embodiment of grace, Kelly of athleticism. For Astaire, dance is the vertical expression of horizontal feelings for another; for Kelly, it is the expression of self. Astaire made dancing look easy; Kelly made it look like a workout. Astaire begot Michael Jackson; Kelly begot Patrick Swayze.

Fred Astaire or Gene Kelly? The eloquent Paula Marantz Cohen (Drexel professor, author, and Astaire advocate) and the learned Andrew Douglas (Bryn Mawr Film Institute education director and Kelly partisan) will make their cases on Wednesday at International House (3701 Chestnut St.) at 7 pm.

At the event, sponsored by the Institute of Contemporary Art, Exhibit A is Top Hat (1935) and Exhibit K is Singin' in the Rain (1952), both of which will be shown, enjoyed, and argued.

Flickgrrl stands firmly in the Astaire camp, while noting the paradox that, though Astaire is the best screen dancer ever, Kelly's Singin' in the Rain is the best dance musical. Though she admires Kelly - especially in An American in Paris, Singin', The Pirate, and On the Town - she cannot say that she likes him. However superb Kelly's choreography and artistry, his aggressive muscularity suggests that he thought there was something sissy about a man dancing.

Of Astaire, whom she loves most in Swing Time, Follow the Fleet, Easter Parade, The Barkleys of Broadway, The Bandwagon, and Funny Face, she has only one word: Perfection. To those who argue he wasn't a great actor, Flickgrrl retorts, maybe not, but no screen personality is a better argument that action is character.

Of course, the only possible resolution to the eternal question of Astaire v. Kelly is why either/or - why not both/and? On screen, the two danced together only once, in the 1946 revue musical The Ziegfeld Follies. You can see, in a photo of them rehearsing their number "The Babbitt and the Bromide," how Kelly is conscious of the camera. Note how Astaire is conscious of conveying the sense of floating.

So, Astaire or Kelly? And in which movie(s)?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Dancing With The Stars: Part Deux

From (Detroit, MI):


It has been roughly seven weeks since my husband and I started dance lessons at Fred Astaire Dance Studio in Bloomfield Hills. It's all in preparation for the Detroit Historical Society's annual fundraiser in December. Along with several other couples, we'll be participating in a friendly "Dancing With The Stars" type competition. Only one problem... based on our lessons so far, we bear no resemblance to the couples you see twirling around on the real deal DWTS! When we started our lessons in September, we felt pretty confident we could maneuver our way around the dance floor. Boy, were we wrong! Slowly but surely we are getting our routine down but it's still a bit of a tug of war. You see it's tough to let your husband/partner lead, when you secretly believe he has no idea what step comes next! There are days when I feel completely wiped out after a lesson and I will admit there is the slightest hint of panic creeping in. We keep telling each other..."this is supposed to be fun." I already have my dancing shoes. In fact, I've been practicing in them and they're pretty comfortable. Now it's time for my costume. Do you think if I get a really flashy outfit, the audience won't pay attention to my feet? Hmmmmm....just a thought. We've started videotaping our instructors and then watching it at home while we practice. That has helped a bit, and this last week we finally finished learning the last component of our routine, so at least I know how our dance will end! We have just four weeks until our big night. Between now and then, you can bet we'll be practicing day and night. Wish us luck... we're going to need it!

Thursday, November 05, 2009

New Dance TV Show Coming Soon


ABC Signs On for FremantleMedia's Let's Dance
By Kristin Brzoznowski

BURBANK: Comedian Kathy Griffin is to host Let's Dance, a new series from FremantleMedia North America that will feature stars paying homage to classic dance routines, slated for a five-episode run on ABC.

The show will kick off with a 90-minute premiere episode on November 23 at 9:30 p.m., following the season-nine finale of Dancing with the Stars. Additional episodes of Let's Dance will air on November 30, December 7 and 14, with the finale on December 15.

The first three episodes will feature stars competing in single, group and duo performances. The celebrities will train, rehearse and take to the stage to perform memorable dance routines from movies, pop videos or musicals. A celebrity panel will give their comments after each routine in front of a studio audience. Viewers from across the U.S. will then have their chance to vote for their favorite performance. The celebrity panel and star participants will be announced shortly. From each of these episodes, two performances will be chosen—one by the viewers, one by the celebrity panel—and these two acts will return to dance in the finale. The act with the most viewer votes from the finale will be awarded a prize for the charity of their choice.

Let’s Dance is produced by Fremantle North America (American Idol, America’s Got Talent) in association with Whizz Kid Entertainment. The show first premiered in the U.K. earlier this year, and was the number one new entertainment series to launch on the BBC since 2002.

Monday, November 02, 2009

WATCH! Corky Ballas interview...

Corky Ballas, a legend in ballroom dance and a former Dancing With The Stars professional dancer, is interviewed at the latest Fred Astaire Dance Studio national competition in Orlando, Florida. Watch here:

Indianapolis Studio News

The Fred Astaire Dance Studio in Indianapolis, Indiana would like to welcome Chris Ford to our coaching staff.

Chris comes to us with tremendous skills and experience; because he has continually trained with the world's best coaches, he offers the most current technique and styling. In his competition career, Chris was a United States Finalist in American Style Smooth and won numerous competitions throughout the United States. We are very excited and pleased that Chris has decided to join Dan & Nicole as part of the coaching staff at the Fred Astaire Dance School.
See your teacher or call us to arrange a great lesson with one of our great coaches.
Our mission is to enrich every person's life that comes in to our school.

Check out our new Group class schedule for November!
Our new program offers great classes for everyone!
Take advantage of our new group program and learn A LOT!!
If you did not receive our recent email regarding what is being offered, just give us a call.
Monday ~ Latin and Rhythm technique with Dan 7:30
Smooth technique with Nicole 8:15
Tuesday ~ Advanced Bronze Syllabus 7:30
Dance it off !! What a workout 8:15
Wednesday ~ Social Latin ex.: Salsa, Merengue, Rumba, Swing 8:15
Thursday ~ International Latin Syllabus 7:30
Dance it off!!!Wanna lose weight? 8:15
Friday ABCs & 123s of basic dancing (A free class~Bring your friends) 8:30
9:00 Dance Party Only $10.00 per person Practice~Practice~Practice
Call us for details