Dancing with the Local Stars reaches for the moon

Click here for our photo gallery of this event.

If you didn’t know it already, Ernie Kranias won this thing ten years ago.

Jeremy Lusk

The owner/operator of Ernie’s Texas Lunch had the audience laughing in anticipation of his running punchline throughout the first round of the “Dancing with the Local Stars” competition Friday night at the Gettysburg Majestic Theater.

The whimsical judge’s description of the dancer’s movements was hilarious as well. It’s easy to see why he is a Gettysburg treasure.

“Dancing with the Local Stars” is becoming the hot ticket of the year, according to Jeffrey Gable, another of the night’s three judges. The power of the vote was in the hands of the audience, so the judges seemed to relax and offer great commentary and encouragement to the highly creative and artistically costumed competitors.  

The third judge was the stunning Dawn Glass who offered the audience a professional dancer’s view of just how amazing these local competitors are. Glass was able to tell us that what Gettysburg Area High School principal Jeremy Lusk was doing so effortlessly was called a “coffee grinder.” If you weren’t there, try to picture what that might have looked like.

The iconic Gable gushed with pride as he spoke of this night as the big night of the year for Gettysburg. The audience applause and the “Met Gala” atmosphere before the show confirmed the truth of his words. The excitement in the air was palpable. Family and friends clutched bouquets of congratulatory flowers while they waited for the lights to dim and the chance to see the results of months of practice that went into this moment.

The emcee for the evening was the very personable and snappily dressed Mark Purdy. Purdy gets a bouquet of daisies for flipping pages while holding a microphone and ad-libbing sparkling conversation. 

The five couples who competed gave Gettysburg a reason to be proud. Lusk and his partner Brienna Smith won the trophy, graciously given up by returning champion, Chris Lauer. Lauer wore his title proudly, flashily dressed in a flowing gold shirt and black leather pants. Who does your hair, Chris?

The diversity of their professions, their different levels of experience, as well as their courage in performing in front of a live audience, showed evidence on the stage of determination, hard work, and what it takes to make a dancing dream come true.

When I talked to Pete Miele just hours before the show, the northern New Jersey native had just finished his final practice with his partner Denice Staub. “Being on the stage is a much different energy than other practice places,” Miele said, adding he is amazed at how far he has come from when he started and had no idea what a box step was. Pete showed just how well he learned.

Reading the biographies of the dancers, it’s easy to understand the smiles on all their faces as they gave it their best one last time for a supportive and cheering audience. Big bouquets of roses to them!

Bruce Moore’s white tie and tails wowed while he whirled his partner, Lisa Wolkind around the stage to a tune from “The Greatest Showman.” A nice touch was the presence of the top-hatted percussionist, local favorite Rickard Malmquist Czar.

There were emotionally touching moments and rollicking, fast-paced take-your-breath-away moments. And the audience was carried along with them all. The show was technically flawless, the lighting was elegant and unobtrusive, the stage crew quiet and quick when adding and removing set pieces, and the sound was excellent, knitting together the various dancers’ accompaniments flawlessly. Bouquets of lilies to the unnamed but indispensable backstage crew.

The voting didn’t seem as chaotic as it could have been. The ushers of the Majestic deserve applause for the collecting of the ballots and secret counting. And looking so sharp, too!

While the counting happened, the audience was treated to an exhibition by students from the newest dance school in town, The Edge Complex. Their precision, grace, and passionate expression showed that this school teaches more than just the moves. The faces of the dancers proved that some of us just gotta dance. Big bouquets of irises to you all!!

The first exhibition of the evening brought titters of excitement as their name was announced. The Sequined Sirens wowed the audience with their talent at tap dancing! The eight women are directed by Vanessa Rice. When the first measures of the 60s hit “Wipe Out” started, I couldn’t imagine they’d be able to keep up, but these amazing women surpassed my expectations exponentially. How the audience held back from giving them a standing ovation, I don’t know, but I’m thinking that they’ll be back next year going for it! I’ll be throwing carnations on the stage for them!

All of the sponsors of the evening are too numerous to mention, but I’m sure the YWCA and The Arts Council, beneficiaries of their generosity are grateful for their huge support.

It was a memorable evening for this theatergoer. I may not get to go to the Met Gala, but Gettysburg’s Majestic Theater plays its part well in bringing Adams County entertainment that shows the community in all its creative splendor.

By the way, if you didn’t catch it earlier, Ernie Kranias won this thing ten years ago.

Featured Image: Jeremy Lusk on stage [Jim Bargas]

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Deb Collins has been in central Pennsylvania since 1989. Her children graduated from Gettysburg Area High School at the turn of the century and now live at opposite ends of the turnpike, Chelsea in Pittsburgh and Jake in Philadelphia. Raised in Connecticut, Deb enjoys the milder climate and the proximity to so many major cities that Gettysburg provides.

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Cathy L Diehl
Cathy L Diehl
1 year ago

So I’m guessing Ernie won? Sounds like a great time was had by all!

Bruce Moore
Bruce Moore
1 year ago

Hey Jim,
This site is great. I am new to it. Thanks too for all the pics. The show is great fun to do. My partner Lisa worked so hard. If you could see her from the first day to last night, I think you’d be impressed. Thanks for all you do.
Bruce Moore

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