Peds team works it

Published 12:43 am Thursday, June 23, 2011

Members of the Washington Pediatrics dance team work through their Dancing With OUR Stars number Tuesday evening in Washington. (WDN Photo/Jonathan Clayborne)

Volunteer dance teams are pouring time, sweat and energy into Dancing With OUR Stars, the biggest fundraiser of the year for Washington food pantry Eagle’s Wings.

Eagle’s Wings feeds hundreds of needy people each year by providing staple goods to qualified clients at its offices off Third Street and delivering food to homebound clients.

Dance rehearsals for DWOS began June 7 in preparation for the fundraising dance-off, which runs Aug. 13 at the Washington High School Performing Arts Center.

But the winning team members won’t necessarily be the better dancers. In DWOS, the winning team is the one that raises the most money.

Last year’s victor was the band of colorfully costumed pirates fronted by the Beaufort County Committee of 100, the nonprofit partner of the county’s Economic Development Commission.

The lineup is different for this year’s fourth-annual installment of DWOS, and the top money-raiser is far from determined.

One of the early leaders in that department appears to be the Washington Pediatrics team, which stepped through its third rehearsal Tuesday evening at Le Moulin Rouge de Danse, a Washington dance studio owned by DWOS director/choreographer Janet Cox.

The 13-member Washington Peds crew has raised $3,000, its dancers said.

True to DWOS form, this team is mostly made up of novice dancers with a ringer or two thrown in for good measure.

“I think what we’re trying to convey is that you can get out and have a good time and raise money for a good cause,” said Ginger Lagcher, a certified nursing assistant II. “And it brings your work group together again. Everybody gets a chance to get out of the office and do something fun together.”

Donna Gorham, a certified nursing assistant, takes to the front line in the opening moments of the team’s routine. Gorham has taken part in church performances, but nothing like this.

“We’re having fun,” she said, agreeing, “We look like we’re having fun.”

Asked whether she was a dancer, Nicole Mackel, a licensed practical nurse, replied, “I am. I wouldn’t call it dancing, but … you do what you need to do.”

The Washington Peds team moves to a medley of songs including “Hot Blooded” by Foreigner and more in the pop-rock vein, with a little “Saturday Night Live” excerpt thrown in.

Though she’s aware the Peds group isn’t the only team in town, Lagcher readily issued a good-natured challenge to the competition: “Don’t mess with us. We’re hot-blooded.”

Also on hand for Tuesday’s practice were duo Shirley Kuhn and Gary Winstead, who are representing Hillside Funeral Service.

The pair waltzes, then fox trots, to a tune from the musical “My Fair Lady.”

“It’s very interesting,” said Winstead, adding, “I dance, but I’ve never (danced) under an instructor before.”

Asked whether she has been a dancer, Kuhn responded with a smile and added, “I guess I will be for two minutes on the 13th of August.”

And the performance is all in good fun, she pointed out.

A list of the other dance teams follows.

Dancing for Eagle’s Wings:

  • Beaufort County Community College
  • LifeStyles Medical Fitness Center
  • Lee Chevrolet
  • Jazzercise
  • Le Moulin Rouge de Danse
  • Paul Funeral Home
  • Eagle’s Wings

Dancing for their nonprofits and Eagle’s Wings:

  • Beaufort County Arts Council
  • Beaufort County Humane Society
  • Boys and Girls Club
  • Literacy Volunteers of Beaufort County
  • Curvy Girls
  • Washington Montessori Public Charter School
  • Trinity Church
  • Community Care & Hospice
  • Turnage Theater

Each participating nonprofit will get to keep half of the money it generates for DWOS, a boon the nonprofits’ staff and board members indicate they could use in these tight economic times.

For more dance-team profiles, see future editions of the WDN.