IMC's “Dance with the Stars” Gala Heats Up the Dance floor, Opens Dance Festival

Tent & Great Friends Meeting House

Although jokingly referred to as “the hottest party of the year” by Event Chair Theodora “Teddy” Aspegren (thanks to the unreal heat wave smothering New England at the time), the Island Moving Company’s “Opening Night – Dance with the Stars” annual summer gala delivered sultry professional performances, a sizzling orchestra band, and an outdoor dance floor that was definitely "on fire" as the night went on.

2011’s Gala was once again held at the Great Friends Meeting House in downtown Newport, RI – this time with air conditioning, which helped, as well as auction bidding numbers cleverly attached to wooden tongue depressors, so that many attendees used to fan their faces.

Dominique Alfandre & Miki Ohlsen

Ms. Aspegren, along with IMC Board of Directors Chair Kate Spinella, led the event as it moved from through spaces: first, from the entry room of the historic meeting house (with some folks venturing out to the exterior lawn for hors d’oeuvres and sunshine) and then into the adjoining performance area, lined on all sides with chairs and benches, and which would serve as the stage for the rest of the week’s performances, which spotlighted many internationally renowned dancers.

Miki Ohlsen
, longtime Artistic Director for the organization,  put together a “sneak peek” of performances to come later in the week during the Great Friends Dance Festival. IMC Executive Director Dominique Alfandre stood to welcome the audience and present the performances, which began with "To Rest", choreographed by Danielle Genest, and then moved into Au Coin de La Rue, a series of short dances choreographed by Ohlsen and set to Edith Piaf songs. Scenes ranged from frolicsome seaside romps to intimate, jealous lovers’ quarrels and triangles, to wistful solo dances.


Abby Byrne & Gillian Lessels sell mystery boxes

Dancers included Brooke DiFrancesco, Glen Lewis, Shane Farrell, Christine Sandorfi, David DuBois, Meredith Baer, Carol Tang, Marcelino Juarez, and Danielle Genest. Of the 200+ guests attending the event were Ellen Barnes, Dick and Monty Burnham, Alyce Wright, Dick Baker and Barbara Lloyd Baker, Bart Dunbar, Paul Szapary and Diana Sylvaria, Marilyn Woloohojian, David and Judith Enstone, Barbara and Warren Caldwell, longtime IMC dancer Mary Beth Murphy, and more.

Following the performances, guests were ushered outside to a huge white tent, lit up in purple and decorated inside with orange accents, including an eye-catching balloon sculpture which hung from the ceiling. Silver stars glittered on tables. Young girls in white dresses carrying wicker baskets sold the last of the “mystery boxes” available for purchase, each containing an enamel bracelet donated by Sequin, two tickets to the festival, and one lucky box with the grand prize: Red Sox tickets.


Steven Kaufman, Spencer Berger & Monica Kaufman

Teddy Aspegren and Rob Bailey assumed their places on the dancefloor to formally greet seated attendees and to discover who had won the Red Sox tickets. “It’s a great country we live in, where people support the arts,” remarked Bailey. Following a catered dinner and a live auction led by Kathy Kingston, the Alex Donner Orchestra roused guests from their seats with an electrifying set of old and new favorites. Many guests showed off some fantastic moves and really held their own, even while dancing next to (or perhaps with) the trained professionals.


                                                                                              -- Amanda M. Grosvenor

To learn more about the Island Moving Company, visit


Brooke Van Gerbig

Sandy Peterson & John Brooks

Brent Erstad

Lori & Daniel Young, Ellen Barnes

Francesca & Kate Spinella

Dick, Monty & Morgan Burnham

Ginger creme brulee

Alyce Wright


Barbara Lloyd Baker, Dick Baker, Bart Dunbar


All set up inside the tent!


Balloon sculpture


Gathering before dinner



Didi Suydam & Jemma Craig


David & Judith Enstone


Dancers perform


Dancers perform


Dancers perform


Dancers perform


Taking a bow


Barbara & Warren Caldwell


Mary Beth Murphy, Derek Hansen, Vivi Valentine


Playing a little jazz piano


Dinner commences


A festive table display


Larry Brown & Yadira Titus


Rob Bailey & Teddy Aspegren


Rob Bailey speaks


John &  Maggie Shafmaster congratulate Miki Ohlsen (c.)


Thomas Palmer with Jemiston Faust


"ONE ..... singular sensation"



Ending the mystery box sale


Kate Spinella is pleased with the dinner




David Dubois channeling John Travolta in "Stayin Alive"




"A Chorus Line" strut



Don & Jana Jagoe on the dance floor


Danielle Genest & Glen Lewis making like Fred & Ginger


Terry Morgenthaler & Charlie Hayes


Passing the plates


Miki Ohlsen & Dominique Alfandre greeting dinner guests


Trudy Coxe & David Enstone


Applauding the dancers


Cabaret dancers


 A still from the film projected Liza Minnelli


Joan Martin dines!


Singing along


Sarah Williams, John Dalsheim


IMC dancers smile for the camera


Paul Szapary, Diana Sylvaria, Sarah Williams, John Dalsheim

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