STAMFORD, Conn. – As the director of sales for Halstead Properties, Stamford’s Tammy Felenstein is comfortable taking charge. When she practiced for Dancing With The Stars for Curtain Call, she needed to let her dance instructor lead, and it was not easy.
“That was a hard thing for me,’’ said Felenstein, who is paired with Thomas Varian of Arthur Murray Grande Ballroom of Greenwich for the show at the Palace Theatre in Stamford on Saturday, May 17. “In the beginning, he said stop, let me lead you, you don’t know what you’re doing. It took some getting used to. Once I let him take charge and lead, everything got easier and better. He’s been capitalizing on my strengths and incorporating his strengths. Hopefully it will come off.”
Money raised from the event will support Curtain Call. People can vote their favorite dancers on the Curtain Call website. The dancer with the most votes will receive the People’s Choice Award.
Saturday’s show begins at 8 p.m., and is preceded by a cocktail party beginning at 6:30 p.m. at UConn-Stamford. Tickets beginning at $50, or $25 for students, can be purchased online.
Felenstein said her dance with Varian is a “hodgepodge” of different steps. The dancers have been working together since March, meeting two times a week for about an hour each time.
“In the beginning, when you’re just starting to choreograph, it’s not too strenuous,’’ she said. “I made an off the cuff comment early on that it wasn’t so hard. We’ve been going longer and longer, and now when we’re done I’m dripping with sweat. He’ll laugh at me and say ‘This isn’t so strenuous, right?’ It really is great exercise. I work out pretty regularly, but these are different types of muscles.”
Felenstein said experience as a high school and college cheerleader lent little in terms of dancing. “The only thing that will help me from cheerleading is to keep smiling,’’ she said. She also took tap lessons as a young girl, but otherwise has no significant dance experience.
After two months of work, Felenstein said everything fell into place just in the past week..
“It was touch and go whether we could get through the whole thing,’’ Felenstein said. “But at practice on Wednesday we go through it a few times. I’m just holding my breath and hopefully I won’t lose my balance.”
Felenstein, a longtime resident of Stamford who has been active in real estate since 1997, said she’s enjoyed her dance experience.
“I’m proud of myself for doing it,’’ she said. “It’s taken me outside of my comfort zone. It’s great for my children to see me doing it, and I have a lot of support from my company. It has been fun.”