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By Paul Lonardo
Lincoln’s Dee Soares is the event director of Dancing with the Doctors, an annual charity event that features doctors from around the state who provide a unique evening of entertainment when they are paired with a professional dance instructor and compete in a dance-off to see who will take home a coveted “Mirror Ball Trophy.”
And it’s all for charity, so everyone wins.
This year marked the sixth annual of Dancing with the Doctors fundraiser, which Dee describes an event that shows the artistic side of the medical community, integrating the poetry of the feet to the devotion in their hearts to come together for a greater cause. It was held on April 13 at the Twin River Event Center. Each year, Dee and her staff select a different local charity to support, and this year an amazing $150,000 was raised for Hope Health, a non-profit organization that serves thousands of people each year in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Hope Health caregivers support patients and their families through all stages of illness, providing hospice care, palliative care, home care, and dementia and Alzheimer’s support services.
On May 7, Dee presented Hope Health with the check, and she and everyone involved with Dancing with the Doctors was proud to be a part of making it all possible. It’s what the event is all about. And they all have fun doing it.
The popularity of the event grows every year, with 2019 seeing twenty doctors dancing, all of whom did a fantastic job raising money through their networks, and nearly 1,000 guests in attendance, as well as multiple sponsors contributing to the success of the event, including Life Span.
There are three categories of awards given out, one each for female and male dancers. This year’s winners included:
Dr. Aleksandra (Sasha) Yakhkind, Most Technical – Female;
Dr. Steven Milman – Most Technical – Male;
Dr. Danielle Curitore – Most Entertaining – Female;
Dr. Dario Roque – Most Entertaining – Male;
Dr. Victoria Leytin – People’s Choice – Female – Tie; Raising over $20,000
Dr. Beta DiZoglio – People’s Choice- Female – Tie; Raising over $20,000
Dr. Tony Wu – People’s Choice – Male.
The People’s Choice trophy is awarded to the performers who raise the most money for the event, with Dr. Wu raising a whopping $50,000 by himself. This amount was more money than the total that was raised six years ago at the very first Dancing with the Doctors event.
Dr. Tony Wu, MD is an Internal Medicine specialist in Riverside. He attended and graduated from Rutgers-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in 1993, having over 25 years of diverse experience. He is affiliated with many hospitals including Miriam Hospital, Rhode Island Hospital, Dr. Wu paired up with Jayne Pawasauskas, a dance instructor who is also a clinical pharmacist at Kent County Memorial Hospital.
Dee Soares and her husband, John, are former competitive dancers who now operate Studio One RI in Lincoln, which specializes in providing instruction for a wide variety of dancing styles with the goal of making learning to dance easy and fun. They offer lessons in Ballroom social dancing as well as competitive styles, wedding preparation, private and group lessons, both youth and adult programs, and dance fitness classes. You name it, they teach it.
Ten years ago, the couple made their dream come true when they opened up their own dance studio in a Sayles Mills complex in Lincoln. It boasts one of the biggest dance floors in the state. If you are interested in becoming a better dancer, or if you would like to participate in next year’s Dancing with the Doctors charity event, contact Dee. It’s never too late to learn how to dance, and never too early to sign on for next year’s dance competition.