Cleveland’s Dancing Wheels’ ‘Rock that Rolls!’ benefit concert set for April 11, 2014

Photo by Dale Dong
Photo by Dale Dong

By Michael Bargas

Cleveland, OH – The house will be rockin’ on Friday, April 11, 2014 when the Dancing Wheels Company ignites the stage at Cleveland’s Public Hall (Public Auditorium & Conference Center) with an unforgettable evening of music and dance by some of America’s most notable Rock Hall inductees: Madonna, R.E.M., Ray Charles, The Temptations and Alice Cooper.

An awesome VIP Party (hosted by more than 55 enthusiastic hosts) will start the festivities at 6:30 p.m. Partygoers will be invited to sample food enjoyed by the rock stars themselves prepared by executive caterers, a photo booth where they can dress up like their favorite rocker and peruse unique musical and rock’n’roll items for a one of a kind silent auction.

The high energy performance will commence at 8:00 p.m. with a special guest appearance by Bobby Harris and Skip Martin from the Grammy Award-winning Dazz Band who will open the performance. Guest celebrity hosts Thomas Mulready of CoolCleveland, Dennis Lewins, with WCLV/HD2 Idea Stream and Jeremy James Verdi, Cougar 93.7 will take audiences on a musical journey as they introduce each dance performed by the Dancing Wheels Company.

Four emerging choreographers from New York City were chosen to create new dance works for this concert using the music from inductees from the Rock Hall of Fame. Shawn Rawls created The Temptation Suite using The temptations hits “Just My Imagination,” “Ain’t too Proud to Beg” and “Papa was a Rolling Stone,” Choreographer Ted Thomas’ If You Believe is set to the R.E.M songs “Man on the Moon,” “At My Most Beautiful” and “Superman”; For Ashley Carter and Vanessa Martinez’s Save the World, the pair uses Madonna’s song “4 Minutes,” a duet she sang with Justin Timberlake; and choreographer Ginger Cox brings to life the soulful music of Ray Charles in her Let the Good Times Roll, a medley Charles favorites including “Let the Good Times Roll”, “Georgia (on my mind” and “Hit the Road Jack!”.

In addition to these four world premieres, the company will also perform the high energy work Straight Down the Middle, a suite of Alice Cooper music choreographed by Dance St. Louis Artistic Director, Michael Uthoff. A special guest appearance by Twenty-two students from the Dancing Wheels School joined by students from “On Your Toes” Dance Studio will round out this amazing evening in Dancing Wheels School Coordinator Emma Parker’s Pride with music by U2.

After the show audience members are invited to join in on a dance party like no other with the high energy music of Festivus, Cleveland’s # 1 rated party band!

About the Company:

Now in its 33rd season, the Dancing Wheels Company under the artistic direction of Mary Verdi-Fletcher and Rehearsal Director, Catherine Meredith, perform throughout the world with more than 75 performances each year. With this new body of work the Company’s wide and diverse repertory has grown to nearly 60 works.

Mary Verdi-Fletcher said “This Rock that Rolls Project proved to be exciting and informative for both the dancers and the choreographers. We engaged in diverse genres of dance while significantly broadening the vocabulary of each of the choreographers with our technique of translation and unique partnering; giving way to the new and endless possibilities that are available through physically integrated dance”

The 15 member Dancing Wheels Company members performing in this eclectic concert include: Kelly Clymer, Dezare Foster*, Samantha Fox, Daniel “Isaah” Henderson*, Emma Parker, Franklin Polk, Jen Sikora, Jason Shaw, Sara Lawrence-Sucato*, Mary Verdi-Fletcher, Apprentices, Lianne Zydowic, Hope Harl and Kevin Marr. Trainees Ja’Vaughn White and Tanya Ewell.
*Denotes Dance Captains

Dancing Wheels’ ‘Rock that Rolls!’ benefit concert
April 11, 2014

Public Auditorium & Conference Center
500 Lakeside Ave.
Cleveland, Ohio 44114
(216) 348-2211

Benefit VIP tickets are $100, general admission tickets and after party are $30. For more information or to make reservations call (216) 432-0306 or log on to

Sponsored by Cuyahoga Arts & Culture, Scene Magazine, Rock the House, AmRamp and Sherwin Williams. All proceeds benefit the Dancing Wheels Company & School’s educational and outreach programs. Additional sponsors: Cleveland Foundation, Bruening Foundation, MetLife Foundation, Ohio Arts Council, Emerson Process Management, National Endowment For The Arts, Target, The George Gund Foundation, The Kuhn Family Foundation, The Kennedy Center VSA, The Nord Family Foundation, Invacare, Key Bank, and Cuyahoga Board of Developmental Disabilities.

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