Here's Our Super Unofficial Ratings of Geneva's Dancing Stars

It was down to the wire, but our table's scoring agreed with the final vote totals. Mike and Heidi were outstanding, but Laura and Derek were the winners by a nose.

Part of the fun of is judging the performances yourself.

We were fortunate to share a table Saturday night with Tim and Sue Baker, Sue Hansen and Joe, and Chris Emma, which made it fun. Sue Hansen and I are fans of the Dancing with the Stars TV show, so we roped Chris into helping us play the pretend role of judges at the Geneva version Saturday night.

Sue, obvioiusly, was the beautiful Carrie Ann Inaba of our group. I would have been the aging and persnickety Len Goodman, and Chris was the passionate Bruno Tonioli character. In the awarding of points, I might have been more like Bruno, whose taste often matches up with Carrie Ann's. Chris was like Len, but only in the sense that he was the deciding factor in the end. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Here's our judging.

Michael & Heidi Jacoby — Tango

  • Rick — 9
  • Sue — 9
  • Chris — 9

Comment: These two were the best overall in precision and in footwork (based on what I saw in the practice session—I couldn't see their feet from our table in the ballroom.) They showed flair from the opening poses, to the head snaps, to the passionate kiss in the middle of the dance, to their final bows. They set the bar so high in the opening round, it didn't look like anyone could catch them.

Art & Connie Wagner — Foxtrot

  • Rick — 8
  • Sue — 7
  • Chris — 9

Comment: Prior to each dance, audiences are treated to a wonderful, video interview of each couple. Art and Connie reminded us that they were the oldest dancers in the competition, but they've been dancing together for a long time. Their smooth connection was ageless and timeless Saturday night. They were grace personified in a Foxtrot that was classy, impeccable and beautifully performed.

Jim & Maureen Radecki — Salsa

  • Rick — 7
  • Sue — 7
  • Chris — 9 (Chris actually wanted to give them a 13, acknowledging his bias for being related to Maureen.)

Comment: Maureen wanted to dance for the cause and Jim wanted to dance for Maureen. Like Art and Connie, they brought their "A" game Salsa into the final, improving markedly over their afternoon practice sessions. The moment in the middle when Jim kisses Mareen's arm—sexy and priceless.

Steve & Beth Olson —Waltz

  • Rick — 6
  • Sue — 6
  • Chris — 10

Comment: This was by far, for me, the most memorable and emotional dance of the night. You could see the love Steve and Beth have for each other. Beth was just beaming. The storytelling in the dance was marvelous—they begin sitting at a table with Beth begging a reluctant Steve onto the dance floor, where they are transformed to Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, elegant and charming and completely in the moment. (Chris, apparently, is an incurrable romantic, with his perfect "10" here.)

Eric & Kari Bartel — Cha Cha

  • Rick — 7
  • Sue — 7
  • Chris — 8

Comment: Kari can dance. Eric was the talented novice. And together they were beautiful partners who made the demanding Cha Cha come alive. Like the other couples, they improved markedly over their afternoon practice session. There was some fast-paced Latin rhythm and major-league hip-shaking going on by both dancers in this spunky, spicy Cha Cha Cha.


Laura Rush & Derek Swanson — Jive

  • Rick — 9
  • Sue — 9
  • Chris — 9

Comment: Derek and Laura had two big advantages: a raucous group of supporters and the anchor performance of the night. They just nailed it. I think Laura was the best dancer of the ensemble, but Derek definitely brought his dancing shoes Saturday night, matching Laura quick step for quick step. After the hilarious Lion King opening (Nants ... ingonyama ... bagithi Baba!), they almost leap into a frenetic, playful Jive that knocks your socks off. I almost gave them a 10, but couldn't trust myself to say that it was perfect. It was just darned close.


Since the Jacoby and Swanson/Rush duos tied, I let Chris be the deciding judge. He gave our table's mirror ball trophy to the Geneva jivers from Class of 1986.

Master of Ceremonies Kevin Burns said the competition was neck and neck between two couples in the tallies of the donations (voting) that had been collected up until the end. The organizers never reveal which two couples were vying for the top prize, but if it was the Jacoby duo and the Rush/Swanson duo at the finish line, the momentum of the night's final performance might have been the deciding factor.

Overall, $16,869 was raised for the charities that sponsored the event—the Geneva Academic Foundation and the Geneva Cultural Arts Commission.

Jeanne Sawtell February 07, 2012 at 12:42 AM
Go to http://youtu.be/-uRaZ-2XraA to view the link to Laura & Derek's amazing performance!
Laura Rush February 07, 2012 at 02:40 AM
Everyone was fantastic and the group dynamic was phenomenal! Would do it again in a Geneva minute. Congrats to everyone, we came a long way from last October and we all gave Genevans and beyond a great show Saturday night! Thanks to all the couples, GAF, GCA, State Street Dance and everyone else contributing to this priceless evening. Apparently I am still a bit excited!
Derek February 07, 2012 at 05:51 PM
I think I understand and can empathize a little bit as to what post-partum is about. I am just coming down off of that high from a great event this weekend and I already looking for another dancing gig....not really, my feet are still killing me. My goal, as was Laura's and the rest of the dance couples, was to raise as much money for our community as we could. With everyone bringing their A game on Saturday night I don't think we disappointed our fan bases and surpassed our monetary goal. Congratulations to everyone for their commitment, energy, and positive attitudes during the whole process. I am so proud of my team, not just Laura and I, but of all of my teammates. It was an honor to be included in this program with all of them and I look forward to continued success with this event in the years to come. Huge thanks to Alex our instructor and Linda for all of her passion and dedication to the program.
Rick Nagel February 07, 2012 at 06:52 PM
I was just in the audience—and I'M still pumped from Saturday's show. A final video medley is coming up at 3 p.m. on Geneva Patch.
Connie Wagner February 08, 2012 at 12:13 AM
Ditto to Derek comments. It was a magical time. Art and I had a great journey on our own and with our great group. A big thanks to Michael and AuBrey for there time and patience in teaching. A big hug to Linda Cunningham for her leadership in the production of this event. Also kudos to Carolyn Hill and her troops for pulling this together. Geneva Rocks!


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