MERIDEN — Around a hundred people gathered at Silver City Ballroom Friday evening to cheer on some of the city’s notables as they jigged and jived while spotlighted on the dance floor.
The local “celebrities” were part of the first Dancing with the Stars of Meriden dancing competition, hosted by Higher Movement dance studio.
All the proceeds the event raised will go to Seniors Have Dreams Too, Inc. The Wallingford-based nonprofit grants wishes to seniors living on or below the poverty level, who “often feel isolated and dis-empowered,” according to the organization’s website.
“Things like this help pay for (wishes),” co-founder of the nonprofit Betty Berger said.
She said the funds from Friday night will go toward future wish granting, including one set for next month to bring a paraplegic woman to a casino, an activity she says she loves and hasn’t been able to do for years.
Sally Smith, co-founder of Seniors Have Dreams Too, Inc., said she’s been doing tap with the owner of Higher Movement, Kirby Shields, for years and was touched that Shields chose her organization to give to.
Regarding the theme of the night, Kirby Shields’s aunt, Mauri Shields, said Kirby has been a “Dancing with the Stars” queen and wouldn’t miss an episode.
“This is so Kirby,” Mauri Shields said. “(She’s) living the dream.”
The competitors were paired with dance instructors from the Higher Movement studio, with whom they practiced their routine, all in preparation for the big night.
Channeling their inner Michael Jacksons, Meriden native and Connecticut Army National Guard member, Tony Quinones, and instructor Jazzlyn Torres, kicked off the performances.
Meriden Police Officer Joseph Stoute performed a high-energy 1990s mashup with instructor Chloie McMahon, which got the crowd cheering.
Matt Munson, an active member of the Boys and Girls Club of Meriden and former contestant on ABC’s “The Bachelorette,” danced to a jazz-style routine with Shields.
Instructor Torey Robinson was also joined in dance by Alyssa Rae Taglia, WTNH television traffic anchor on News 8’s Good Morning Connecticut.
Audience members could vote on their favorite performance, while enjoying a selection of food, a cash bar, and raffle prizes.