By Mary Therese Biebel, Wilkes-Barre Times Leader
WILKES-BARRE — If you’ve ever wished you could see your favorite doctor, former mayor or friendly local business owner tripping the light fantastic, you just might get your chance April 6 at the F.M. Kirby Center.
Dance Theatre of Wilkes-Barre will celebrate its 10th anniversary that evening with 10 locally well-known couples dancing all sorts of steps.
“There will be tangos, country, Broadway, jive and waltz,” organizer Gina Malsky said, explaining the evening will be a friendly competition with audience members invited to vote for the couple they believe danced the best.
Depending on which couple earns your vote, the money will benefit The Association for the Blind, Paint Pittston Pink, JCA Early Childhood Education, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and other worthy causes.
The program will open with a line-dance number that includes staff and friends of the F.M. Kirby Center, some of whom seemed to be a bit nervous during a recent rehearsal.
“You can have a glass of wine afterwards,” one participant encouraged another.
“How about a bottle of wine this afternoon?” came the response.
“I forgot my tutu and my feathers,” said Carole Antolik, of Edwardsville, who has been with the Kirby Center for 30 years.
Antolik seemed to be joking, but then she mentioned, quite seriously, that she’s completed more than a dozen cold-weather polar plunges into the ocean at the New Jersey shore. She might be up for anything.
The Kirby Center stage is, as Antolik vividly remembers, the place where Liberace has played the piano, an auctioneer has sold live cows and David Copperfield has worked his illusions. Now the staff have a chance to shine.
“You’ve got to shake your butt,” Malsky said at one point.
“You’ve got to be kidding,” one of the staffers remarked.
After teaching a few more steps Malsky, who is the director of Dance Theatre of Wilkes-Barre, offered to incorporate any stylized moves her new protegees might suggest.
“Does anybody have anything special to show me?” she asked.
“Yeah, exit stage right,” Kirby Center director of operations Drew Taylor said.
But, deep down, Taylor must have enjoyed the dancing. Why else would he have taken a place in the front row with lead dancer/Kirby Center executive director Will Beekman?
While the Kirby staff and friends continue to work on their dance number, the following couples are preparing to dance in support of various charities:
• Dr. Shawn and Michele Casey, Miles for Michael, support for families of cancer patients.
• Dr. Glen and Dr. Cari Tellis, Performing Art Training Academy.
• Dr. Harvey and Kathy Reiser, The Association for the Blind.
• Mitch and Taly Kornfeld, JCA Early Childhood Education.
• Cassandra Coleman-Corcoran and Jim Corcoran, Paint Pittston Pink.
• Dr. Anthony and attorney Danielle Bruno, Little Eric’s Foundation, supporting a cure for pediatric and brain cancers.
• Bridget Giunta Husted and Steve Husted, Riverfront Parks Committee.
• Gina and Leo Malsky, Kevin’s Kause, an effort to purchase a van for Kevin Heidacavage, who was diagnosed with severe multiple sclerosis.
• Tatiana Medico Zambino and Lorenzo Medico, dancing in support of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
Two more people are expected to join the group, Malsky said, so there will be one couple to represent each of the 10 years of Dance Theatre of Wilkes-Barre’s existence.