STAMFORD, Conn. – JoAnn Latorraca said practicing for this weekend’s Dancing With The Stars to support Curtain Call in Stamford is the hardest thing she has ever done.
The managing director of Water’s Edge at Giovanni’s in Darien also believes the hours and months of work are well worth it.
“I’ve never done anything like this,’’ said Latorraco, who will dance with Lou Lopez in Saturday’s event at the Palace Theatre in Stamford. Money raised from the event supports Curtain Call, a community theater. Readers can support Latorraca and other dancers by voting online . “It’s been loads of fun,” she said.
Latorraca and 10 other dance teams have been practicing twice a week since March for Saturday’s show. She has practiced a Bachata, a style of dance that originated in the Dominican Republic, with Lopez, who works at Latin Moves Dance Studio.
“Last week was the first time I thought I really had it,’’ Latorraca said. “I didn’t sleep for two months. At practice last week I did my routine and I nailed it. It’s not as easy as it looks on TV.”
Latorraca said she has learned something about herself while practicing for the dance. “It’s taught me that what I always taught my kids is true,’’ she said. “It’s taught me that you have to practice. Now I’m finally starting to believe it. I am determined to do it. This is an accomplishment for me and no one else, and that’s so unlike me.”
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 .
Most of the contestants are local business people and civic leaders. Among them is Stamford's Kaitlyn Tarpey, who was Miss Connecticut in 2013. She is dancing with Moises Guerrero of Arthur Murray Grande Ballroom of Greenwich.
“This old bag has to dance against Kaitlyn,” Latorraca said. “I told her don’t you want to call in sick that day? Seriously, it’s been a lot of fun. It’s a big community event and I think it’s fantastic that they do this. My dance partner has been fantastic. I’ve really enjoyed doing it.”
Complete information on the Dancing With The Stars for Curtain Call is online .