City steppers; Local `Dancing With the Stars' will benefit Preservation Worcester.

Position:PEOPLE
 
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Byline: Nancy Sheehan

Just call them Fred and Ginger.

City Manager Michael O'Brien and his wife, Beata O'Brien will be among Worcester luminaries who are ready to rumba in a ballroom dance competition April 29 to benefit Preservation Worcester. In the process of preparing for the event, the O'Briens became entranced with dance, as have others who high-stepped up to the plate.

"I am in this competition to win and I'm thrilled to do so for such a great cause," Mike O'Brien said. He has been training diligently with dancer Trish Camera of Poise, Style & Motion Ballroom Dance Studio in Worcester. "Trish has transformed me into a dancing machine," he said.

Beata, likewise, has come down with dance fever - but she isn't looking for a cure.

"I have really enjoyed learning traditional ballroom dances and meeting such talented people," she said. "This experience has been great and I hope to keep on dancing long after the competition."

The competition, called "Dancing With the City," is modeled after a wildly popular TV show "Dancing With the Stars"and will feature several other prominent Worcesterites as fleet-footed contestants. They are city commissioner of public works Robert Moylan, world champion boxer Jose Antonio Rivera, Worcester Tornadoes first baseman Chris Colabello, Preservation Worcester executive director Deborah Packard and local attorney Marie Angelini, who is also a Preservation Worcester board member. Each will be paired with a professional dancer from Poise, Style & Motion Ballroom Studio in Worcester, which donated 30 hours of lessons for each contestant.

The dance competition will be held in the grand ballroom at the DCU Center will feature the waltz, tango, east coast swing and other dances.

Apparently, once nice, level-headed people put on a pair of dancing shoes, they're never the same. They start calling the dance studio their second home and talking about getting first-ever spray tans before the big performance. Whether it's the beat, the music or the movement, something happens and previously all-consuming passions become passe.

"It is more fun than I thought it would be, but hard work nonetheless," Moylan said. "Dancing is great fun and exercise. In fact, for me, golf is out and dancing is in."

A male and female champion will be selected based on top scores accumulated for their respective dance performances by both judges' criteria and people's choice selections by the audience. The celebrity judges are Allen Fletcher...

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