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The "Big Boy's Ballet" raises money for the Angels

If they’re not the most recognized legs in town, they might be after May 3rd when Sandpoint’s “crème de la crème” of business and community leaders take the stage at the Panida Theater for the Big Boy’s Ballet.

Yes, you heard that right. Ballet. Local men like John Winju, Bob Witte and Bill Lewis will be performing select scenes from some of the ballet world’s finest: Swan Lake, the Nutcracker, and the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy.

“Paul Norm actually had a ballet class once,” claimed event director Stephen Weeks. “His credibility influenced a lot of people and surged our ranks (of performers).”

Credibility? That’s the word according to Week’s, who describes himself as a man with “a varied theatrical background including a long period of time in the circus. That’s why they wanted me,” he added. “It was all my training in herding large bodies.”

“They,” of course, are the same group of people who brought you the Jim Lippi roast last summer with the Angels Over Sandpoint and, if all goes according to plan, they say the Big Boy Ballet will last even longer in the minds, the hearts, and possibly the funny bones of anyone lucky enough to be sitting in the audience.

“There’s ballet,” explained Weeks of the evening’s offerings. “And original music by original musicians. There’s also comedy... loosely defined.”

With pink tights and tutus on such local notables as John Conlan and John Pucci, comedy is probably the surest thing about this highly secretive event. “We’re not going to tell you our whole line-up,” Weeks insisted, despite intense efforts on the part of this reporter to pry that information loose. “Even alcohol won’t make us tell you who they are.”

Not even alcohol? Peter Mico, a fellow organizer of the event and a part of what he likes to refer to as the Ballet “tribunal” or possibly “troika,” was slightly less tight-lipped. “I’m in it,” he said, though he swore that Mike Ruskey, another organizer, will not perform. “It’s a great list of guys,” he added. “They’ve been practicing since January.”

“They’ve been really dedicated,” Weeks concurred. “And (choreographer) Laurie Buck says they’re almost up to a six-year old level.”

Despite further blandishments, the group refused to divulge any more names, saying only that “the pinnacle of the Sandpoint community,” will perform. When asked to name, at the least, the finest pair of legs we’ll see on the stage, 'Angel' Lori Armbruster offered, “That’s easy. My husband, Jim.”

It’s obvious that the group of people in charge of, and participating in, this event is out to have a really good time, but it’s also obvious that they’re doing it for a really serious reason. “The event will benefit the Angels Over Sandpoint,” Mico said. “All the money we raise is going to go right back into our local community through the Angels.”

The Angels “evolved” several years ago after the death of Kathy Pelland, a much-loved and missed member of the Sandpoint community who “was always trying to get everyone together, and always made everybody feel they were special to her,” explained founding Angel Paula Marcinko. The Angels provide community support in a variety of ways, from big profile events to low profile, one-on-one support for victims of cancer. “We just see things that should be done, and try to do them.”

A silent dessert auction during the ballet will also go back to the community – money raised will go to the Panida’s Air Conditioning Fund.

Although Weeks is adamant about keeping the performing line-up a secret until the curtain is drawn, he is willing to say that the star of the show will likely be the rhino. “It’s entirely safe,” he said with a straight face. “I don’t want anybody to fear they’re in any physical danger by coming to the Ballet. The rhino is quite lovable,” he added, “even if it is big and ugly.”

“The only thing we’re not going to have is fire,” he added. “Or at least, if we do, it will be entirely accidental.”

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Landon Otis

Tagged as:

Sandpoint, Angels Over Sandpoint, Big Boy Ballet

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