2010 Program - Mad Hot Ballroom: Home
Mad Hot Ballroom Gala
Proceeds to Benefit
Lake Charles ~ August 2010
We are pleased to present The Whistle Stop’s First Annual
Mad Hot Ballroom Gala to benefit Dancing Classrooms. This
evening’s performances are the result of hard work, discipline, and
determination. Local celebrities, paired with experienced dancers,
will perform for you tonight. Each couple chose their dance, music,
costumes, and choreography. The dancers graciously volunteered
countless hours of practice in preparation for tonight’s show because
they understand the positive effect Dancing Classrooms has in our
Nancy Vallee, director of The Whistle Stop, brought Dancing
Classrooms to Southwest Louisiana. Nancy has done a remarkable
job in implementing and fostering the program, founded by Pierre Dulaine and the American
Ballroom Theater of New York. Daniel Gonzalez, one of the first teaching artists in Southwest
Louisiana, helped facilitate and teach Mr. Dulaine’s program syllabus. The program now has
five teaching artists and fifteen participating schools in Southwest Louisiana.
Dancing Classrooms teaches children more than dance; the program teaches life skills, which
enhance children’s futures in every way. I urge you to take a moment to read the additional
information about Dancing Classrooms, located in the center pages of this program, for clarity
of the Dancing Classrooms mission statement, “How social awareness, confidence, and selfesteem is learned through the practice of social dance.”
Our goal is to make Dancing Classrooms available to every fifth grade student in Southwest
Louisiana. After tonight, I am confident you will appreciate the impact the structured program
has made on the children from schools fortunate enough to participate, and I hope you will
share our enthusiasm for this cause.
We are happy to premiere the first performance of The DC (Dancing Classrooms) Dance
Company. These children participated in Dancing Classrooms and were selected to continue in
the summer scholarship program. The group is under the direction of dance instructor, Colleen
Benoit, who worked with the children to make tonight’s show more than just a dance routine.
The performance demonstrates the poise, respect, and confidence the children acquired as
a result of the Dancing Classrooms program. As the DC Dance Company delivers their very
first exhibition tonight, please applaud them during their performance and especially as they
take a bow!
On behalf of The Whistle Stop and Dancing Classrooms, I want to thank all of the volunteers
for their hard work and our sponsors for their immense generosity. I encourage you to stay
after the competition and dance the night away, because our “talent scouts” will be watching
for potential celebrity dancers for Mad Hot Ballroom 2011.
The Whistle Stop
Mad Hot Ballroom Gala
Leah Bossano, Event Chairperson
Introduction of Masters of Ceremonies
Katsie Barbier Fanelli
Mad Hot Ballroom Documentary Video Clip
Introduction and Parade of Contestants
Opening Number and Premier of DC Dance Company
Reginald Larkins and Dasha German
Korey London and Kerri Fowlkes
Ryan Mellard and Mary Amanda Bell
Cole Hebert and Cecilia Benoit
Walter Joubert and Haley Benoit
Alex Jones and Kayven Victor
Introduction of Judges
Dana Keel and Daniel Gonzalez ............................................ Salsa
Phil deAlbuquerque and Amy Grimes .................................... Disco
Mike Dees and Angie Peck ................................................ Rumba
Wendi Hebert and Rody Broussard ..................................... Variety
Karla Russell and Robert Miller ............................................ Tango
Chris Shearman and Dalanne Fruge’ Babineaux .................... Swing
Harold Bienvenu and Denise Nix ...................................... Cha Cha
Gene Thibodeaux and April Lafargue ................................. Hip Hop
Monsignor Harry Greig and Colleen Benoit ........................ Jitterbug
presented by our Sponsors
Best Costume ................................................................... KPLC
Originality ......................................................... Children’s Clinic
Third Place ....................................................................... Citgo
Second Place .............................................. Cameron State Bank
Hot Mad Ballroom Challenge Winner ... Women & Children’s Hospital
People’s Choice ………................................................... Aeroframe
Open Dance Floor for Social Dancing
Bruce Hamilton travels throughout the United States
spreading his philosophy called No Bad Days to thousands of
people each year. Bruce believes that if you allow yourself to
have a bad day, YOU LOSE! Bruce shares his philosophy in a
fast paced humorous style. A professional speaker, sales trainer,
business owner, general manager of National Networks, host of
an internationally syndicated television program, husband and
father of two, Bruce has a varied background to draw from.
Bruce is not a motivational speaker, he is a motivated speaker.
He is motivated to help others take control of their lives and
their destiny by taking control of their attitudes.
Katsie Barbier Fanelli is a native of Sulphur and recently
returned to the area after working in San Diego for 13 years. As
an accomplished advertising consultant, she is back creatively
working and planning ad campaigns with FocalPoint Media &
Marketing. Last year, Katsie was asked to be a scorekeeper for
the 1st Annual Colors of the Rainbow Team Competition and
was not familiar with the program. After seeing the children
perform, she immediately recognized the value of the program
for area schools. Participating again this year with the 2nd
Annual Competition, she is honored to take part this evening
to benefit the program. Katsie is also currently the Co-Chair
and MC for the American Cancer Society’s August 14th
Celebration of Life Gala – Night at the IMPROV.
Megan Monsour Hartman is a lifelong resident of
Southwest Louisiana and serves on The Whistle Stop’s Board of
Directors. She is currently the Marketing Manager at the Lake
Charles/Southwest Louisiana Convention & Visitors Bureau
where she promotes the area’s tourism and entertainment
opportunities. Her passion for students goes beyond The
Whistle Stop’s programming, as she teaches the 5th grade
Sunday School class at her church. Megan graduated cum
laude from Louisiana State University in 2004 with a Bachelor
of Arts degree in mass communications, concentrating in public
relations, with minors in speech communication and sociology.
Megan and her husband Matt Hartman reside in Carlyss with
their two dogs, Bacchus and Brie Lynn.
Real Estate Agent
Ballroom Competition Dancer
Certified Ballroom Dance Judge
Dance Studio Owner and Instructor
Dr. Hal Bienvenu
Dr. Bienvenu is a native of St. Martinville, Louisiana. He graduated
from Louisiana State University and Louisiana State University
Medical School in New Orleans. He is a Board Certified Facial Plastic
Surgeon and a Board Certified E.N.T. physician. Dr. Bienvenu is
the surgical director and owner of Bienvenu Aesthetics.
Dr. Bienvenu has done medical mission work with
Christ the King Catholic Church in Honduras where he
performed Pediatric Facial Plastic surgery. While there
he developed an interest in dance after taking lessons
in Bachata and Latin dance.
Hal is married to Cathy and they have three children
who are graduates of Louisiana State University, Tulane Law School, The New York
Studio School, and New York University. He enjoys building canoes, biking, hiking,
mountain climbing, and recently added to the list, DANCING!
Denise is a native of Kinder, La. and later moved to Lake Charles
where she attended McNeese State University. She began dancing
competitively in 1995 and has become one of the area’s most
accomplished dancers. Denise has competed in many dance styles
including Country Western, Swing, Ballroom, and Latin Dancing. She
has won over 50 American Dance Titles and has ranked 2nd in the
World Intermediate Country Division. Denise is a student of Daniel
Gonzalez, training in Advanced Salsa, and recently placed 1st in a
Salsa competition. She is currently training to resume competing
in the Country Western Division.
Denise feels that her participation in Mad Hot Ballroom has not only
brought some wonderful people into her life, it has also improved
her dancing! She enjoys playing the flute, traveling, and going to
the movies. Denise has two children and one grandchild and is
employed by Polaris Engineering
Mike Dees is a native of Lake Charles and has held the position
of General Counsel for the Lake Charles Harbor & Terminal
District since 1995. He received his Law degree in 1976 from
Louisiana State University Law School and engaged in general
practice until 1994. Mike has been very active in the community
and served on the Board of Trustees and the Board of Regents
for State Colleges and Universities, SWLA Convention & Visitors
Bureau Board of Directors, as well as numerous professional
Mike is married, has a son and one daughter. He
enjoys gardening; however, this season he has left
the comfort of his backyard and gone into the dance
studio. Dancing for “the kids” is sure to help him stay
in shape and guarantee him many years ahead to enjoy his most cherished interest
– his grandson Oliver.
Angela has been pursuing her childhood dream of becoming a dancer
for the past eight years with a passion that has contributed to
distinguished success. She has won several nationwide competitions
and in 2009 earned a World Championship Title.
Angela has since become a mentor to other dancers. The proud
grandmother and Office Administrator for Dr. Nathan Bray spends
most of her free time sharing her love of dance in the studio or
performing her hard earned skills on the competition floor.
Being a part of “Mad Hot Ballroom” is very personal for Angela.
She hopes this event will be the beginning of fulfillment and
worth to those students that may share that same childhood
dream of DANCE.
Monsignor Harry Greig
Monsignor Greig has been a priest for 34 years. He serves as
Chancellor and Vicar General for the Diocese of Lake Charles
and has been Pastor of several parishes in the Diocese as well
as Administrator of St. Margaret Catholic Church. Currently, he
is also the Chief Financial Officer for the Diocese of Lake Charles.
Monsignor has a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting and
Master’s degrees in Divinity and Religious Education.
He spent three years working at the Vatican in the
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith under the
Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger who is presently Pope
Monsignor has enjoyed all forms of dancing since his
Junior High School years. He played the clarinet in
High School, College, and in the Air Force, and also enjoys the piano. His other
hobbies include traveling, reading, and cooking.
Colleen is a graduate of St. Louis Catholic High School and McNeese State
University where she earned a Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood
Education and a Master’s degree in Educational Technology. For the
past 21 years, she has taught at Nelson Elementary. Colleen and
John Benoit have been married for 21 years and they have three
children: Benjamin and Braxton, 18 years old and Cecilia, 10 years
Colleen began dancing at the age of four. She studied at the
School of American Ballet in New Your City, North Carolina
School of the Arts, Pittsburgh Ballet Theater, and the Joffrey
Workshop in San Antonio. Locally she has performed as a
principal dancer with the Lake Charles Ballet Society and
has taught Ballet for over 20 years. She has also been a
fitness instructor for Gigi’s for 21 years.
Wendi Vinson Hebert is a native of Lake Charles and is the mother of
2 children, Lenzi and Lantz. Currently she is a Realtor with FLAVIN
Realty as well as a professional makeup artist. Her first business,
Make-N-Up FACES, customizes makeup for women of all ages for
their special occasions. Wendi also founded SWLA Cotillion.
Wendi is a cancer survivor and is involved in the American Cancer
Society Relay for Life. She has served on numerous committees and
boards and is currently active in the National, State and SWLA
Association of Realtors, Catholic Daughters Organization, Barbe
Football Boosters Club and is an LSU Mom.
Wendi has had a love for music and dancing since attending the
Lake Charles Ballet Society as a child. There she developed
the dream of learning to dance which will come true as she
celebrates her 45th birthday with us!
Rody Broussard is owner and operator of Bayouland
Ballroom in Lake Charles. He also teaches weekly classes
for Calcasieu Parish Home-school students and private and
group lessons in Country, Ballroom, Latin and Swing. He is
the instructor for the Junior League of Lake Charles Cotillion
classes and coaches competition students on the Country
circuit where he has produced five World Champions.
Rody is married and has two children. He loves to
share his expertise and hopes to inspire citizens of
the Lake area to begin a new endeavor in the art
of dance. He has already introduced dancing to
numerous local organizations. Rody’s Studio has
a performance group, “Bayouland Dancers”, that
offer showcase numbers and exhibition dancing for
many entertainment events. He also choreographs
routines and teaches couples who are in need of a
special dance for their wedding.
Dana is a life-long resident of the Lake Charles area. She has a Bachelors of
Science degree in Business Management from the University of Phoenix
and has been employed by CITGO Petroleum Corporation for nearly 20
years. Dana is active in her church and also enjoys fishing, camping,
gardening, renovating and volunteering.
Dana has danced to French and Swamp Pop music since she was a
young girl. She grew up dancing with her dad, Steve Reed, other
family members, and friends at local Knights of Columbus and
VFW halls. She met her husband Clyde by asking him to dance
one hot summer night and five months later they were married.
They have been married for 21 years and share a blended
family of five children and six grandchildren. Although she
has had no professional dance training, Dana and Clyde
enjoy dancing whenever they get the opportunity.
Daniel was born in Venezuela where he learned to dance salsa at a very
early age. He choreographed his first dance while in first grade! He
has done professional modeling in Venezuela, and has also worked
as a professional trainer and Latin dance aerobics instructor.
Daniel moved to Lake Charles in 2004 and, has since been
teaching the art of Latin dancing at his studio, Latin
Moves by Daniel. He also teaches Leisure Learning
classes at McNeese and is regularly recruited by area
businesses for dance demonstrations and classes.
He is very active in the Latin dancing world and
has performed his original choreography in Las
He is the proud father of Alexia (5) and Daniel
Ignacio (2). He is a senior instructor for
Dancing Classrooms, teaching students of
schools throughout Southwest Louisiana.
Karla Russell Whiteman
Karla Russell Whiteman has been the director for LA Weight Loss
for 10 years. One of Karla’s passions is the Theater and she
has performed in Gypsy, Applause, Best Little Whorehouse in
Texas, Lil Abner, and An American in Paris. Karla’s other hobbies
include singing and canasta.
Karla’s husband, Dr. Jerry Whiteman, is her biggest fan and
support system. She has two beautiful daughters, Dr. Stacy
Beaty and Shelly Stanton, who she describes as the best
part of her. She is the proud grandmother of four shining
stars: Connor, Russell, Hannah, and William. Plus,
she is thankful to have the world’s greatest dads and
husbands for son-in-laws!
Karla is absolutely thrilled to be a part of Mad Hot
Ballroom and feels her introduction to dance is
just the beginning of a truly fulfilling new hobby.
Robert Miller is a supervisor for RD Spell Construction and
has been dancing for over 25 years. By day he runs heavy
equipment and supervises road construction; by night he
glides across the dance floor enjoying his love for dance.
Robert has danced and competed on the country circuit and
has won several events. This year, he has increased his level of
training and will be dancing in a world-wide competition.
On any given night, Mr. Miller can be found practicing his
competition routines or researching Ballroom dances
such as the Tango. He feels continuous studying, as
well as practice, is necessary to execute the various
showcase routines and entertainment numbers that
he performs. Robert’s current goal is to win a World
Championship in January.
Dancing Classrooms ~ Lake Charl
The Dancing Classrooms program was
launched in 1994 by world-renowned
ballroom dancers Pierre Dulaine and
Yvonne Marceau, as a not-for-profit
project of the American Ballroom Theater
Company. An arts-in-education, life skills
pro-gram, Dancing Classrooms uses
ballroom dance to build social awareness,
confidence and self-esteem in children.
Dancing Classrooms residencies are
integrated into the school day; 5th grade
students meet with their Teaching Artist
twice a week for ten weeks. The program
utilizes a syllabus of ballroom dance
that nurtures mastery of an art form
in a fun learning environment, while
fostering respect, teamwork, confidence,
politeness, and a sense of joy and
accomplishment. Essentially, it "teaches
life skills wrapped up in ballroom dance."
The endless stream of not-so-common
courtesy is part of Dulaine’s system.
We say “Thank you, partner; hello,
new partner,” We want to instill in the
children the idea that they are ladies
les ~ Colors of the Rainbow ~2010
As a special activity, each school in
the Dancing Classrooms program
has the option to participate
in a city-wide team match, the
Colors of the Rainbow. At the
close of each course, students
audition to participate, with
twelve students advancing to
the competition. The schools are
identified by colors, with ladies
wearing colored sashes and the
gentlemen wearing colored cards
pinned to their backs.
Our teaching philosophy is one
of inside out versus outside in.
The program is not just about
teaching dance, it’s about
teaching pride, confidence and
respect. We take the dance
that is inherent in students’
bodies and help them to bring
it out, not force it in, enabling
students to increase their selfesteem as they learn.
Chris is a native of Lake Charles and has been writing and performing
his music around the South for over ten years. He has three studio
albums and frequently updates his music career information at
Chris is very
fascinated by the power of music and he
has donated his talents to performing
charity events. He believes in the careful
balance of music as a public service.
Chris is a graduate of St. Louis Catholic High
School and of Louisiana State University. He
is the Youth’s Program Director for the Lake
Charles YMCA. He is active in Crossfit and enjoys
running, playing soccer and the outdoors. Chris’s
love for enriching the lives of children helped him make
the decision to be a part of Mad Hot Ballroom’s Dance
DaLanne Fruge’ Babineaux
DaLanne is a graduate of McNeese State University where
she received a degree in Psychology Education. While
attending college she was a cheerleader and later the
captain of the Cowgirl Kickers. She is also a former cheer
instructor for the National Cheerleading Association.
DaLanne is married to Jason Babineaux and they have a 3
year old son, Cayton. She has been a dancer for 35 years
and in 1998 she opened DaLanne’s Dance Academy
in Sulphur, Louisiana. DaLanne studied Irish Dancing in
Scotland and her Dance Academy is currently the only
studio in the lake area to offer Irish Dance classes
as well as dance classes for special needs children.
Phil de Albuquerque
Phil de Albuquerque was born and raised in Mt. Clemens, Michigan.
He graduated from Michigan State University with a degree in
engineering and then ran away and joined the circus.
After traveling with Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey
Circus as a clown, Phil relocated to New England. He eventually
became an international tour guide and met his wife, Lauren, on
one of his tours. They moved to Lake Charles in 2003.
Phil is the Board President of the Children’s Museum, is on
the Board of Directors for Big Brothers/Big Sisters, is the
captain of Krewe Déjà Vu du Monde, and is the publisher
of The Jambalaya News. Phil and Lauren are also the
reigning king and queen of Krewe de la Famille.
Having participated in several dance competitions, Amy Grimes is
an accomplished performing dancer. For many years she enjoyed
dancing in local discos in the Lake Area and was so talented that
she was often referred to as “Miss Disco”!
Amy grew up in Sulphur and graduated from Sulphur High School.
She later attended LSU and McNeese State University. She is
married to R.J. Grimes and has three children: Andy, Helen and
John. She has been a trial assistant with the Calcasieu Parish
District Attorney’s Office for the past five years.
Amy has been active in Mardi Gras for over 30 years, serving
as director of the Mardi Gras Museum for 10 years. Her
hobbies are dancing (of course!) party planning, fishing
and spending time with her friends and family.
Ulysses Gene Thibodeaux is a graduate of Dartmouth College and
Tulane Law School where he was an Earl Warren Scholar. He is
currently the Chief Judge of the Third Circuit Court of Appeal.
Gene is the past President of The National Council of Chief Judges
and practiced law for seventeen years in New York City and Lake
Charles before his election to the Third Circuit in 1992. He is the
2010 recipient of the Judge A. Leon Higginbotham Award for
Judicial Excellence from the National Bar Association and the
2009 recipient of the Thurgood Marshall Award from the
National Bar Association for his service as an exemplary
role model for judges and lawyers.
Gene is very active in the community and serves
as a Board member of several organizations. He
is a member of Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic
Church and is married to Phyllis Dugar Thibodeaux.
Growing up April was a member of Lake Charles Civic Ballet Company where she
danced lead roles in numerous ballet productions. She
received her B.A. in Communication from McNeese State
University. Her passion for the art of business, the art
of dance, and her love for teaching led her to open her
own studio, Main Street Dance Company. April also has
over five years directing and choreographing for award
winning high school and studio competition teams. She
also has choreographed for the Acadiana Mudbugs
Dance Team, Lafayette’s professional indoor football
team, the Louisiana Ice Gators Dance Team, Lafayette’s
professional hockey team, and the USA-MMA’s.
April is the proud mother of her 1 year old son
Emerson. She is excited to be back in the Lake
Area launching her new Arts Enrichment, Dance
and Fitness Studio, Munchkins & Mommies, and
teaching leisure learning classes at McNeese.
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The advanced medical care you need,
right here at home.
At Women & Children’s Hospital, you’ll find the advanced
Inpatient & Outpatient Surgery
medical care you need when you need it. A dedicated and
experienced medical staff offers over 36 medical specialties
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ranging from complete obstetrical care and advanced surgical
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Cardiac Stress Testing
7/12/10 12:07 PM
Event Sponsors ($5,000)
Cameron State Bank
Women & Children’s Hospital
Ballroom Sponsors ($2,500)
Leah Bossano: Event Chairperson, General Organization, and Event Planning
Juan Bossano: Organization, Web Design, Stage Design, Photo and Video Prod., Program Design.
Melinda Lemke:Organization, Production Coordinator, Judges Coordinator, Stage Director
Roger Porter: Organization, Sponsorship Coordinator
Andy Jacobson: Sound and Lighting Coordinator and Director
Nancy Vallee: Dir. Dancing Classrooms, DC Dance Company Coordinator, Invitations, Decorations.
Jan Ware: Organization and Committee Member
Megan Monsour Hartman: Committee Member, Public Relations, Press Releases, Off Stage Host
Katsie Barbier Fanelli: Master of Ceremony
Bruce Hamilton: Master of Ceremony
Michelle Britt: Judges Host
Special thanks to:
Katie Maddox for Photography in Program (www.katiemaddox.shutterfly.com)
Beinvenu Aesthetics for Backstage Makeup
Calcasieu Trophies for Participant Awards
Lake City Printing for Programs
Mad Hot Ballroom’s Future Events
Tonight’s Performance is the just the Beginning!
If you are interested in participating in next year’s Gala
As a Sponsor,
Please visit our website at www.celebritydancingswla.com
Vote for your
People’s Choice Award
Enter as many votes as you wish.
$1 per vote
Use the forms and envelopes on the table.
An usher will gather them.
100% tax deductible
Lake City Printing Proudly Supports
Whistle Stop Dancing Classrooms
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DC Dance Company