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Fred Astaire Dance Studios, in the News!

At Fred Astaire Dance Studios, it’s always exciting when our talented staff & students, and exciting events & locations are celebrated in the media! From local community stories to national news, our goal is to help share the inspiring examples of how the positive and transforming power of dance enriches lives – physically, mentally, emotionally and socially. Browse these links, and perhaps discover something new and engaging about dance. Then, step in to Fred Astaire Dance Studios and experience the joy and confidence that dance lessons can bring to your life.

Fred Astaire Brookfield, CT in the News

Newtown ‘Dancing Stars’ To Benefit 12/14-Related Causes
September 5, 2016

Dancing with the stars fundraiserDANBURY — Two local women, one a traumatic brain injury survivor, the other an author and stress and weight reduction coach, will be putting their feet to the test while benefiting two post-12/14 causes when they take to the floor September 9 for the “Brookfield Dancing Stars” competition.

Terry O’Neil and Jessica Ortner were both excited to learn about the unique competition — unique in that even if either or both do not capture the top prize when all is danced and done, they will still have raised money for their causes through pre-event fundraising in the form of “people’s choice” votes that come attached to donations of $10 or more designated for each respective participant’s cause.

The two Newtown residents, along with other twinkle-toed contenders, have been working on polished choreographed routines, and will perform them with a professional partner at the September 9 gala in a competition mirroring the hit TV show Dancing with the Stars. Then, a panel of celebrity judges along with the audience will select a winner who will win the event’s “mirror ball trophy,” and a cash prize to be added to fundraising efforts for the charity of their choice.

The cash prize represents any admission and other specific evening-of-event funds after costs to put on the competition, Ms O’Neil explained.

The Fred Astaire Dance Studio of Brookfield will be hosting the evening at the Amber Room Colonnade, 1 Stacey Road in Danbury, from 7 pm to midnight. Tickets to the gala include a VIP cocktail reception, a sit-down dinner, live and silent auctions, professional performances, and a live band.

Ms Ortner, according to her author’s bio, teamed up with her brother Nick Ortner to produce the breakthrough documentary film on EFT/meridian tapping, The Tapping Solution, and subsequently wrote the New York Times bestselling book The Tapping Solution for Weight Loss and Body Confidence. She also hosts a yearly online event, The Tapping World Summit, that has attracted more than one million attendees from around the world.

She and bothers Nick and Alex established The Tapping Solution Foundation following 12/14 to support exemplary humanitarian projects that promote the use of EFT/tapping for trauma and resiliency in disaster relief, medical care, education, business, government and community agencies, and meaningful community outreach initiatives. Appropriately, the foundation is Ms Ortner’s recipient charity for funds raised through her Brookfield Dancing Stars competition.

Alex was the one who made the call to entice his sister into the competition.

“The last time I did any choreography I was this chubby little girl. I was probably 7 years old, and I absolutely hated it,” Ms Ortner said in a YouTube video she is using to help raise funds for the contest. “So I’m open to having a new experience when it comes to dancing, and hopefully I won’t trip over my feet.”

Her instructor/partner is a dance instructor who goes by the name Toshko, and the pair will be dancing to the Kenny Loggins hit “Footloose.”

Prior to her injury in 2008, Ms O’Neil was a competitive pro-am dancer.

“So it’s like brand-new to me. I had to learn to dance all over again, as I had to do everything in life after an accidental fall on a patch of ice,” she explained. “It wiped not only my mental memory, but muscle memory, too. I was a horse trainer and had ridden my whole life. And after the fall, I couldn’t remember how to get on or off, I couldn’t remember anything.

“I couldn’t drive a car, and it put my attempt to test for my black belt to square one. When I went back, I didn’t even know what a fighting stance was,” she added. “Even the dance lessons are a challenge for my partner, because of occasional short-term memory loss.”

Her partner is Marcel Helms, a Fred Astaire instructor. Ms O’Neil and Mr Helms have chosen to do a tango to the Survivor song “Eye of The Tiger.”

She has chosen The Avielle Foundation as her recipient charity, and has established an individual fundraising crowd source website and a Facebook page where supporters can donate directly to the foundation in her name.

As a brain injury survivor, Ms O’Neil was inspired by the organization commemorating 12/14 victim Avielle Richman. The foundation in part devotes research to identify risk factors that lead to violent and aggressive behaviors and protective factors that move us away from violence and toward compassion, kindness, connection, and resilience.

“I met Avielle’s dad, Jeremy, at a Ragnar relay race to run for 12/14 victim Dylan Hockley,” she said. “The next year I ran for Avielle. I love their message of understanding violence to end it as well as having a more connected compassionate community.”

Learn more and support Ms O’Neil and/or Ms Ortner by donating to their charities.

Tickets for the main event September 9 are $179 each and can be purchased at the Brookfield dance studio’s website.

Brookfield’s Fred Astaire Dance Studio Hosts Gala to Benefit Women’s Center of Danbury

The gala features a four course meal, a live band and social dancing, charity auctions, a professional show and a dance contest.

By Wendy Ann Mitchell< (Patch Staff) – August 17, 2016 6:05 pm ET

Dancing with the stars fundraiser

BROOKFIELD, CT — The Women’s Center is the chosen recipient of a benefit at this year’s Brookfield’s Dancing Stars, hosted by Fred Astaire Dance Studio. The event will be held on September 9, 2016 at 7 p.m. at The Amber Room.

The gala features a four course meal, a live band and social dancing, charity auctions, a professional show and a dance contest. Brookfield’s Dancing Stars Gala is a new fundraising event based off the hit TV show “Dancing with the Stars.” Local Brookfield celebrities learn a choreographed routine and perform with a professional partner at the gala in a competition just like on the television show.

Each couple chooses a charity and the audience selects the winner who will win a People’s Choice Award. A panel of celebrity judges decide the winner of the dancing contest and who will receive the coveted mirror ball trophy and a cash prize to be added to their fundraising efforts for the charity of their choice.

The Fred Astaire Dance Studio of Brookfield will host the black tie event at the Amber Room Colonnade in Danbury from 7 p.m. until 12 midnight. Guests can enjoy a VIP cocktail reception with hors d’oeuvres, followed by a surf and turf dinner with musical entertainment by the Hot Cat Jazz Band.

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Michael Forrest, a player with Danbury’s Western CT Militia semi-pro football league, designated the Women’s Center to be the beneficiary to show his daughter the importance of giving back to the community.

“I have a 5-year-old daughter who is my world and I strive to do great things with her and for her. Sports is one of my passions, especially football. Helping people in need is what I’m great at and that’s why I chose to work at Danbury hospital’s ER as a tech,” he said.

“The reason I chose this charity is because growing up I have witnessed friends, family and even my mother being abused and not having a place to go. Having a place like the women’s shelter is such a blessing because there are plenty of people who need the help and support of others when there is no one else you can turn to,” he continued.

Tickets are $179.

So you think he can dance?

Robert DeFalco led materials firm Ampacet Corp. for 17 years, growing the company from sales of $350 million to more than $1 billion while making nine acquisitions and opening eight new plants. But the question remains: Can DeFalco dance?

That question will be answered Sept. 9 when he takes part in a Dancing Stars charity event in Danbury, Conn. The event will be hosted by Fred Astaire Dance Studio of Brookfield. DeFalco will be raising money for Family & Children’s Aid, a non-profit group that provides mental health care for children and their families in central and Western Connecticut.

“I’m proud to be a member of the Family & Children’s Aid foundation board, but have recently agreed to demonstrate my support in a more personal manner,” DeFalco wrote in a recent letter. “Most of you know that I cannot dance the Hucklebuck, let alone Ballroom, but I’ve committed to invest in multiple dance lessons over the next eight weeks in an attempt to meet this worthy challenge in September.”

DeFalco will be one of eight contestants in the event, in which he’ll be partnered with a Fred Astaire instructor. Tarrytown, N.Y.-based Ampacet is one of the sponsors of the event.

DeFalco retired from Ampacet — one of the world’s largest makers of color and additive concentrates — in 2015. He had been with the firm since 1983 and had held the top jobs there since 1998.

And we’ll keep our fingers crossed hoping for video of DeFalco doing the Whip, Nae Nae or Electric Slide.

Brookfield’s Dancing Stars to Benefit Family & Children’s Aid

Robert DeFalco, former President & CEO of Ampacet to dance for Family & Children’s Aid of Danbury.

Robert De Falco DancingBy Wendy Ann Mitchell (Patch Staff)– July 12, 2016 10:37 pm ET

Written by Allison Carballo (Open Post)
On Friday, September 9, 2016, Fairfield County will have it’s own version of Dancing with the Stars! This special fundraising event, Brookfield’s Dancing Stars will be full of all the fun, glitz and glamour of the hit TV Show, but will be showcasing local Brookfield Celebrities.

One of these dancing stars, Robert DeFalco, will be to raise funds and awareness for Family & Children’s Aid. DeFalco, retired President and CEO of Ampacet and member of Family & Children’s Aid’s Foundation Board of Directors has entered this fun competition and will perform a polished choreographed routine with a professional partner at the Gala on the 9th.

“I’m proud to be a member of the Family & Children’s Aid Foundation Board,” said DeFalco. “But I’ve recently agreed to demonstrate my support in a more personal manner.”

DeFalco needs the community’s help in reaching his fundraising goal of $10,000. “If you wish to help Family & Children’s Aid, or just see my dance proficiency raised to the level of Bo Jangles, please visit the website and make a tax deductible donation (large or small) to support these great kids.” DeFalco promises, “You won’t regret it.”

A panel of celebrity judges along with the audience will select the winner who will win the coveted mirror ball trophy and a cash prize to be added to their fundraising efforts for the charity of their choice.

The Fred Astaire Dance Studio of Brookfield will be hosting the evening at the Amber Room Colonnade in Danbury Connecticut from 7 o’clock pm until midnight. The gala will include a VIP cocktail reception, a sit down gourmet dinner, live and silent auctions, professional performances, and a live band. Family & Children’s Aid thanks Bob for all of his efforts and can’t wait to see the competition!

About Family & Children’s Aid
Helping children and families navigate the challenges of mental health, Family & Children’s Aid (FCA) provides high quality, innovative and responsive programs focused on emotional and behavioral well being of children in our community. From severe psychiatric trauma to developmental disorder FCA’s highly trained clinical team can meet the needs of all who seek help. Our therapeutic techniques help children who have experienced trauma, abuse or neglect heal so they can choose their own futures rather than allowing their experiences and illnesses to dictate their futures for them. For more information about Family & Children’s Aid, please visit
Event Info:
September 9th 2016 at 7:00PM
An evening of elegance, fun, and dancing to support local charities.

  • Four Course Meal
  • Live Band and Social Dancing
  • Charity Auctions
  • Professional Show
  • Dance Contest
  • Cash Bar

A portion of all ticket sales went to the winner’s charity of choice!

RHHS delivers palliative & hospice care through Medicare Innovation Model

dancing with the stars fundraiser(L to R:) Ervie “Bud” Hawley, Barbara Kiselak, Carolyn Hawley

(Danbury, CT) Regional Hospice and Home Care (RHHC) is the only hospice organization in the state of Connecticut chosen to participate in the Medicare Care Choices Innovation Model. The highly selective pilot program from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is underway in only 140 of the 5300 eligible hospice providers around the country.

What makes the Choices Innovation Model so unique is its emphasis on providing hospice or palliative care services concurrently with curative medical treatments. Medicare beneficiaries living with life-limiting illnesses such as advanced cancers, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, congestive heart failure and HIV/AIDS will have access to more options in care, including psychosocial, spiritual and volunteer services, which are likely to increase their quality of life and satisfaction.

“The Choices Innovation Model feels like a better level of care for patients and their families who previously had to make a very difficult decision,” said RHHC’s Medical Director, Randy Seewald, MD. “Being able to provide treatment options along with hospice or palliative care also empowers our dedicated clinical and social support teams to fully address all of a patient’s needs.” Patients like Carolyn Hawley of Danbury are already reaping the benefits.

Hawley’s daughter, Barbara Kiselak, appreciates the services her family has received through the Choices Model, including social work and spiritual support, volunteer visits and thoughtful clinical oversight. “Our Regional Hospice nurse is a great liaison between the doctor’s office and my mother’s caregiver. She makes sure that all of her medications are accurate, her screening tests are up-to-date and that there is never any confusion,” she states. Kiselak’s father, Ervie “Bud” Hawley also received hospice care from Regional Hospice. He died peacefully at home in April. Barbara is so grateful for all of the support that the agency has provided that she is competing in Brookfield’s Dancing Stars charity event in support of RHHC’s hospice patient care.

The Medicare Care Choices Innovation Model at RHHC is accepting patient referrals from area physicians, as well as, via patients or family members who are interested in receiving hospice and palliative care services concurrently with curative treatments. This pilot program is planned to provide comprehensive, cost-effective care through the end of 2021. Contact RHHC at 203-702-7400 or visit to learn more.

Regional Hospice and Home Care’s team of experienced clinicians have been providing physical, emotional, spiritual and bereavement support to children, adults and their families through our palliative and hospice care program for the past 30 years. Regional Hospice and Home Care is a nonprofit, state-licensed and Medicare-certified home health care and hospice agency. Now, with the opening of our new private-room, specialty hospital for palliative and end-of-life care — the Center for Comfort Care & Healing — Regional Hospice and Home Care can bring that same hope and compassionate care close to home and under one roof.

Follow us on twitter: @RegionalHospice

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Goodmorning CT Feature “Dancing Through Obstacles”

May 2015
Tanya Bennett and Matthew Ames on Good Morning CT

May 2015
Tanya Bennett and Matthew Ames on Good Morning CT

October 6, 2014| Susan Tuz

Matthew Ames and Natalie Alanna of the Fred Astaire Dance Studio in Brookfield doing a 1940’s dance routine in The Great Danbury Fair Revue at The Palace on Main Street in Danbury. Sunday, Oct. 5, 2014.…

October 5, 2014

… Danbury Fair Revue at The Palace 10/5/14. Matthew Ames and Natalie Alanna of the Fred Astaire Dance Studio in Brookfield doing a 1940’s dance routine in The Great Danbury Fair Revue at The Palace on Main Street in Danbury. …

September 4, 2014| Phyllis A.S. Boros

… Sponsored by about 20 Fred Astaire Dance Studios from Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island, the gala pairs professional dancers with veterans, active-duty military, reservists or family of active-duty members. …

July 24, 2012| Christina Hennessy

… As such, all 14 Fred Astaire ballroom dance studios in the state are participating in the event. Schnedler and Trukhan are teachers at the Ridgefield studio. The others participating include Brookfield, Canton, Glastonbury, Hamden …

November 26, 2012 | Georgetta Lordi Morque

… Elmar Schmidt, owner and director of the Fred Astaire studio in Brookfield, agrees. “People think dancing is hard to learn but then they realize that it’s not,” he says. Chris Muscott, a school …

March 22, 2010

… Carol Kaliff. Kay Keenan of Southbury and Elmar Schmidt of Brookfield, dancers with the Fred Astaire Dance Studio in Brookfield, dance the Fox Trot to entertain the audience at the Oscar Night Gala, held Saturday, March 20, 2010 …

March 22, 2010

… Brookfield. The evening featured music by Bock and Blu and performers from the Fred Astaire Dance Studio in Brookfield. … 2010. the dancers are with Fred Astaire Dance Studios in Brookfield. …

July 1, 2010 | Sandra Diamond Fox
The camps, called “Moms Gone Glee” and “Moms Gone Wild,” are taking place at the Fred Astaire Dance Studio in Brookfield. …For more information, contact Fred Astaire Dance Studio, 117 Old State Road, Brookfield, 203-775-6588. …

Dim All the Lights for Donna Summer: My Personal Memories of One of the All-Time Great Singers

…I looked at Donna’s face, which seemed to say, “nothing to it,” but to the listener it was everything; the moment was sublime, the essence of Donna Summer’s artistry. She sang like Fred Astaire danced. Though Donna Summer was synonymous with disco, there was so much more to her stylistically.

Frances McDormand on Shoegate, Hollywood’s Pay Gap and What Makes Her a Successful Producer

…other issues relating to women in the film industry – during a Women in Motion panel at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. The actress and producer started with a frank appraisal of the Hollywood status quo by taking to the stage in sneakers, which she immediately replaced with high heels. “Just like Ginger Rogers knew with Fred Astaire, you have to do it backwards and in heels,” the “Olive Kitteridge” actress quipped, implying that women need to do considerably more work – and harder work- than men to achieve the same level of respect and success.

The Best and Worst Disaster Movies of All Time

Allen set the box office ablaze once again with this gripping thriller about a fire that engulfs a San Francisco skyscraper. Amid dazzling pyrotechnics, Steve McQueen and Paul Newman fight to rescue an all-star cast, featuring Faye Dunaway, Fred Astaire and O.J. Simpson.

Academy Awards Director Marty Pasetta Dies

The driver was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence, police said. In addition to his Oscarcast and several AFI Life Achievement Award ceremonies, Pasetta directed multiple Grammy Awards and other awards events. His AFI tributes included Alfred Hitchcock, Henry Fonda, Fred Astaire and Frank Capra. He also worked on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour and The Everly Brothers Show and had multiple TV movie credits.

Everything We Know About “American Horror Story: Hotel” and Its Sexy Cast

…least a ballroom is involved in the drama this season. Given Gaga’s obvious talents – plus those of her co-stars – it seems likely that a performance or two are in the cards. Murphy revealed that the “arcane” Top Hat clue in season four was a reference to the classic 1935 film “Top Hat,” starring silver screen legends Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.

Speaking with “An American in Paris” Star Robert Fairchild: “Meaty legs,” but No Tap Dancing

“And he was really into ballet, I don’t think a lot of people know that. He took it very seriously.” As fate would have it, Fairchild grew up to possess a similarly sporty, muscular movement style to Kelly’s. “We both have very meaty legs,” he says. “We’re very grounded. And adding a little Fred Astaire class on top of the gritty athleticism, to combine it with the complete opposite, is confusing to the eye and that’s what makes it interesting.”

Bridgeville Native to Perform in “Mary Poppins”

He anticipates a busy summer, which includes appearances in St. Louis, Maine and Lancaster, where he’ll perform in “Holiday Inn,” “Young Frankenstein” and “The Addams Family,” respectively. “This is a huge tapping summer,” McRoy, 21, said. Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire are two of his role models. Through high school at Chartiers Valley, he perfected his talents, where he had the support of Heidi Fiorentini, an English teacher, and Miss Jenkins, the high school musical choreographer.

World’s Oldest Person, Michigan Woman Turns 116 on Saturday

For a little more perspective, consider that William McKinley was in the White House the year Talley was born, which was also the birth year of actors Fred Astaire, Humphrey Bogart and James Cagney, gangster Al Capone, writer Ernest Hemingway, and filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock- all of whom died decades ago.

Celebrating the Long Reign of Al Hirschfeld, “The Line King”

He frequently drew actors, such as this 1928 rendering of Laurel and Hardy – done using ink, watercolor and wallpaper samples. Hirschfeld drew Fred Astaire and Claire Luce in “The Gay Divorcee” from 1932. The drawing is featured in the “Hirschfeld Century” book.

A Hundred Thousand Welcomes for Prince Charles in Ireland

Prince Charles wants to learn Irish dancing. The Prince of Wales has admitted being a Fred Astaire fan and toying with taking up Irish dancing after seeing a special performance on his arrival in Ireland.