By Tim Kelly
Mary Beth Snow has been a dance instructor in Ocean City for 38 years, and a dancer before that. That doesn’t mean she won’t be nervous on Saturday night when she participates in “Dancing Under the Atlantic City Stars”, a fundraising event to benefit the Community FoodBank of Southern New Jersey.
“I haven’t been onstage performing in quite a while, so this is a little bit out of my comfort zone,” said Snow, who founded, owns and operates The Dance Place at 618 E. 8th Street.
The event, to be held 8 p.m. on November 3 at the Hard Rock Hotel Casino in Atlantic City, follows a theme and format similar to the hit TV show “Dancing With the Stars”. Local professional dancers are paired with celebrity dancers and members of the public vote for their favorites.
There will be judges awarding the crown to the best dancers and the runners-up. The Grand Prize will be awarded to the couple that has raised the most money. All proceeds aid The FoodBank of New Jersey, which does amazing work feeding the hungry in Atlantic Cape May and Cumberland Counties.
- To vote in the competition and help the FoodBank, please visit its website, www.CFBNJ.org
- To watch a live stream of the event, which is a complete sellout, visit www.triax57.com.
Snow’s celebrity partner is Dr. Fabio Orozco of Margate, an orthopedic surgeon at the Rothman Institute. They will do an upbeat salsa routine. The couple has been practicing since July.
“We’re looking forward to killing it out there,” Mary Beth said. “We knew Fabio wanted something with that Latin flavor, and this salsa really brings it.”
There are 12 couples in all in the competition. In addition to Mary Beth and Fabio, the celebrities and their professional partners include: Lara Vadall and Al Henry; Bill McMenamin and Sara Jane Acampora; Brian Jackson and Carol Maccri-Gossamer; Lloyd Levenson and Carrie Reilly; Frank Chesky and Nicole Stephens.
Also Cookie Till and Joey G ; Michael Azeez and Janet Chapman; Michael Bray and Kim Pacitti; Samantha Kiley and Ron Curcio; Jessical Kowal and Can Muhammed Karagol and Kimberly Siganos and Henry.
Judges are radio sports talk show host and sportscaster Howard Eskin, Eagles broadcaster and former all-pro player Mike Quick, former Miss America Susette Charles, top male fashion model Gordon Winarick, and Gary Dee, known for his spot-on impersonation of the late Joan Rivers.
Ocean City has been fast to support her efforts in the competition, Mary Beth said. “Friends and parents of some of my dance students have been amazing, buying tickets to the event and entire tables (10 tickets per table).”
She is certainly qualified to join the ranks of the professionals in the competition, and also has the bloodline for it. She is quite literally a natural-born dancer, coming from an amazing family dance lineage. Her Mom Joan Mangold and aunts Florence Matteo and Jane Florence were all dancers and dance studio owners.
Joan and dad Bill Mangold, both in their 80s will be in attendance on Saturday.
“My mom hasn’t missed one of my performances yet and Saturday will not be any different,” Mary Beth said, and added that her mom made her costume for the event.
That’s just the beginning of the family dance tree. Her sisters, viva Halliday and Amy Young are pro dancers and owners of Cape May Dancers in Rio Grande. Cousins Leslie Bakaris is a former Rockette and co-owns Leslie’s Dance Studio in Margate with Acampora, who is appearing in Motor City Live at the Hard Rock and also competing in “Under the Stars”.
Two other cousins, Marilu Donatelli and Angela Metteo are also former studio owners and former Rockettes, and nieces Maddison Halliday and Marietta Young are dance instructors at The Dance Place and Cape May Dancers, respectively.
Wow, that’s a lot of pressure to perform, Mary Beth was reminded for the umpteenth time.
“It is,” she said, laughing, and adding, the support she has received from family made any “pressure” she is feeling seem to be all positive. She said husband Russell Snow and kids Jasmine, Savannah and Clint and granddaughter Isla “have given me up for a while to this project, which is tremendously time consuming. I can’t thank them enough. “
She also thanked the members of her studio staff for keeping The Dance Place humming in her absence.
One of the biggest challenges, she said, was coordinating her schedule and Fabio’s. “He is an extremely busy surgeon, so we end up working a lot of late nights and early mornings. But we are committed to doing the best performance we can.”
According to Mary Beth, the real incentive is the cause.
“Until I went to the (The FoodBank ’s) website I didn’t know the extent of the great work they do feeding people in need,” she said. “This event is going to be something that allows The FoodBank to purchase more food and help more people. It is going to be a fun and entertaining evening, and the main satisfaction is knowing we’re all working together to end hunger for more local families.”