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Bradenton Woman’s Club puts on its dancing shoes

OK, “Dancing With the Stars” wannabes — here’s your chance. Every Friday night, the Bradenton Woman’s Club opens the doors to its historic Manatee Avenue building for an evening of ballroom, swing and general dancing.

Places that provide live entertainment and room to do those fancy twirls are getting hard to find. The Bradenton Woman’s Club has those key ingredients with the added bonus of a friendly crowd and a smoke-free room.

The past Friday night, the band Bedazzled, led by vocalist Bonnie Gray, performed a mix of tunes that kept the floor filled and the toes tapping. Longtime ballroom dancers, and BWC dance regulars, Peter and Tina Vecchio, spent much of the evening showing the younger folks how it’s really done.

Don and Mary Butler were among the first-timers in the room, but are definitely planning to come back. While the dancing alone was worth a return trip, Mary went home with one of the evening’s raffle prizes.

Although reservations are not necessary, several groups called ahead to save tables, such as the crowd that included Joanne and Larry Hibb, Jim and Wilma Spackman and Mike Malone. Suzy Berinsky, Barbara Bensman, Jeanne Wacker, Kathy Spain, Vickie Inglese and Michelle McCaffrey, were among Bonnie’s dance students who filled another table.

The evening’s proceeds help maintain the 1920s-era building and BWC member Janet Orr and, her husband, Bill, have been organizing the parties for almost three years. It’s not all work, though. Bill was having a great time leading most of the room in the “Electric Slide.”

The entertainment tunes up at 8 p.m., but if you aren’t ready for your spotlight solo, come at 7 p.m. for free lessons.

Susan Wilcox, a Florida native, has lived in Bradenton for more than 20 years.

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