Tribune Print Share Text

Twinkle, twinkle Greenspring stars

Dancers raise more than $19,000

Created date

April 23rd, 2013

As season 16 of the hit show Dancing With the Stars nears completion, dancers at Greenspring, an Erickson Living community in Springfield, Va., recently lit up the stage in their own rendition of the popular production. Performing to a standing-room-only audience of more than 300 in Greenspring s performing arts center, seven dance pairs of one community member and one staff member hoped the event would raise record funds for a campus charity. I am thrilled to participate in such a great event, says Charlie Watkins, who, after only two months at Greenspring, performed the merengue to Hot, Hot, Hot with Greenspring social worker Paula Flynn.

Expert opinions

Showcasing a variety of popular dances, from the fox trot to the rumba, each dance pair was judged on stage by a panel of celebrity judges. Although less critical than Len Goodman, Carrie Ann Inaba, and Bruno Tonioli ofDancing With the Stars, Greenspring s trio of WJLAGood Morning Washingtonanchor Cynne Simpson, Greenspring physician Dr. Les Brandwin, and Director of Operations Jeff Watson grabbed their scoring paddles and shared their thoughts on the performances with the audience and dancers. Addressing the first dance pair to hit the stage Greenspring resident Roy Jaynes and his dance partner Custom Interiors Coordinator Danielle Shaurette Brandwin remarked, You were both very graceful. Roy, you re 95? I couldn t dance like that at 25! All of the dancers, receiving scores from eight to ten, performed brilliantly. The cha cha is alive and well at Greenspring, host Jane Ford said after Program Assistant Sharlene Richards and resident Lawrence Leonard dazzled with their fancy footwork and sparkling costumes. Lawrence, who recently moved to Greenspring, has been a member of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) since 1995, performing as an extra in movies and on television. When I retired, I was looking for something fun to do, he says. I learned that SAG was looking for movie extras. I decided to give it a try. I ve appeared in about 35 movies. The judges quickly took note of Lawrence s comfort while performing. Your showmanship is great, said Brandwin. Lawrence s skills rubbed off on his partner. The way you shook that shimmy, I thought you were channeling Carmen, said Simpson.

Happy days again

While all of the performances were unique, Regional Director of Employee Health and Wellness Sheri Nidiffer and resident Jim Upp, performing to Let s Do the Twist, put on a full-scale, 1950s-style production complete with props and backup dancers. The audience roared with laughter when Jim, a member of the resident advisory council and philanthropy and marketing committees, was pushed on stage in a wheelchair, only to jump up and dance with a poodle-skirt-clad Nidiffer. Jim taught me everything I know, she says. All I had to do was make a skirt and move to the music. We had a lot of fun together, says Jim. My daughter and two grandchildren were able to see the show. That was great. Also bringing the spirit of the 1950s to the stage, Fitness Specialist Lisa Brunson and resident Bob Augustad performed to the swing dance favorite Cab Driver. I chose the dance because I ve been swing dancing as long as I can remember, says Bob. Lisa was a terrific partner. For the two weeks following the performance, Greenspring s Channel 6 broadcast the show for those who were unable to attend. Ballot cards, submitted with a donation to the Benevolent Care Fund, were collected and tabulated. Ultimately, the winners, Bob Augustad and Lisa Brunson were announced live on Greenspring s in-house television show Village in Motion. I was stunned when I learned we won because we were up against some very good competition, says Bob. It was a big surprise and I am thrilled. Getting up on the stage and performing was fun. Lisa has a positive attitude and an abundance of energy, which made it so much fun being her dance partner. Dancing With the Greenspring Starsis a wonderful example of our mission, Sharing our gifts to create communities that celebrate life, says Director of Philanthropy Kimberly Nelson. The event, and the money raised, showcases the wonderful spirit of celebration and generosity that defines our community.