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Rockettes kick it at Stony Brook Rotary Club fundraiser

Over $50,000 was raised at the Stony Brook Rotary Club's "Dancing with the Stars" event, which featured former members of the famous Rockettes. The fundraiser benefitted several local charities, including Stony Brook Long Island Children's Hospital. Videojournalist: Ann Luk (May 16,2012)

Rockettes kicked up their heels and Arthur Murray dance instructors swirled their hips for charity at Flowerfield in St. James Tuesday night, part of a “Dancing With the Stars” fundraiser organized by the Stony Brook Rotary Club.

About $50,000 was generated -- before raffle proceeds -- benefiting the Suffolk County VA, Boys & Girls Club of Suffolk County and Stony Brook Children’s Hospital.

Like her grandmother and mother before her, Deborah Stevens, who coordinated the Tuesday event, became a Rotarian to serve her community.

“We really hope that this will prompt a lot of people to join the Stony Brook Rotary Club,” Stevens said. “Our motto is, ‘Service above self.’”

The proceeds from the benefit will be donated to the charities in honor of Leah Danaief, the publisher of Times Beacon Record Newspapers, for her service to the Three Village community.

“Much of it [the money raised] was from sponsors who were willing to give up to $3,000 to $5,000 when the economy is not terrific, so I’d like to think that it’s an outpour of support for the children’s hospital and for the Rotary Club,” said John Bracken, 73, Stony Brook Rotary Club sergeant at arms.

Guests’ eye widened as the Rockettes hit the floor with five pairs of long legs extending and contractings in unison.

“I loved the Rockette performance,” said Regina Brandow, 50, a Stony Brook resident, “I wish I could dance like them. It wouldn’t be bad to look like them, too.”

Brandow and her husband Sean stepped onto the dance floor with other couples to showcase some of their own moves as the Larry Bessen Entertainment group and Gotta Dance DJ Entertainment played music between performances.

More bashful guests enjoyed the company of others or looked at donated raffles prizes.

Wellington Tejeda, 38, had his eye on two Yankee prizes, a framed picture of Derek Jeter and an autographed baseball by Mariano Rivera.

“Hopefully I’ll be a winner by the end of the night,” said Tejada, who came to support the event after hearing about it from a friend at Stony Brook Children’s Hospital. “I think I’m a winner just by being here.”

Tags: St. James , Stony Brook , fundraiser , Rotary Club , Rockettes

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