Seven local business leaders practiced for months to compete in the 5th Annual ElderHouse Dancing with the Stars Gala Benefit, held Saturday, March 24. They trained with their professional dance partners from Norwalk’s Fred Astaire Dance Studio, to bring enthusiasm and skill to the dance floor at Wilton’s Rolling Hills Country Club. At the end of the evening, the judges awarded Hank Fatigate, general manager of Little Pub Wilton, with the award for Best Performance by a Male.

Another Wilton competitor received the title of Best Friend to ElderHouse, for raising the most money for ElderHouse pre-event–Eric Ferraris of Tooher-Ferraris Insurance Group.

This year’s other dancers included Carolyn Donohue-Ulman, Dooney & Bourke (Norwalk); Nathan Gottlieb, All Seasons Marine Works (Rowayton/Westport); Karen Kelly, First County Bank (Stamford); Andrea Kostanecki, William Pitt Sotheby’s (Rowayton); and Kristin McClutchy, Pure Barre Darien (Darien).

All seven dancers donated their time to the competition, executing routines that impressed an enthusiastic sold-out audience.

According to ElderHouse’s executive director, Denise Cesare, the gala event was an evening of excitement, fun, high energy, and great talent, and raised more funds than in previous years.

“Our 5th Annual Dancing with the Stars gala was one of the best events ever. The dancers were amazing, cheered on by a very enthusiastic crowd. The funds raised will help support programs for older adults with aging diseases. What a successful evening it was! When everyone has a great time and we can surpass our fundraising goals, it a great day for ElderHouse!”

The Norwalk-based nonprofit adult day center is celebrating its 40th year serving the community. ElderHouse Adult Day Center is a highly-regarded nonresidential facility that delivers nurturing, respectful, and responsive hands-on care along with recreational activities to senior adults living with aging diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, dementia, stroke, depression, heart disease, and diabetes. ElderHouse provides award-winning adult care and socialization in a safe and nurturing environment. It offers seniors the opportunity to remain as independent as possible, while sharing time with others, receiving necessary medical care, and affording time and peace of mind to caregivers.

Other top awards went to:

  • Best Performance by a Female:  Karen M. Kelly of First County Bank
  • People’s Choice Award (voted for by attendees):  Nate Gottlieb of All Seasons Marine
  • Above and Beyond Special Award (for outstanding contribution and effort to help make event a success):  Carolyn Donohue-Ulman of Dooney & Bourke

Judges for the event were Christine Titus, owner and artistic director of Wilton’s Conservatory of Dance; Ted Thomas, associate artistic director of The New England Academy of Dance in New Canaan; and Gina Zangrillo, president of Darien Sport Shop.