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Rumba-Inspired Dance Party Makes A Splash At Spinnakers

Originally Posted: February 21, 2009

"Samba Queen" Cristina Ferreira and musician Jim Turner get the crowd on their feet Friday night at Spinnakers Restaurant in Sag Harbor for the benefit of the "Dance And Give Party." Photos by Eileen Casey

Sag Harbor - Alitza Pia coordinated and hosted her second "Dance And Give Party" under the auspices of the 'women's group' Le Salon Piquant she founded a number of years ago which she describes as "zesty and intense."

This 'circle' as described by Pia "Was founded to inspire ladies of the East End community, giving them an opportunity to gain new perspectives and connect with like-minded women; guiding them in making personal and professional decisions, while giving back to our community."

The rumba-inspired dance night at Spinnakers on Main Street in Sag Harbor featured an evening of spirited live music, latin dancing and bites of free pizza for the charity minded.

Enlisting the talents of Jim Turner and The Jim Turner Band, DJ 94 and Brazilian "Samba Queen" and dance instructor Cristina Ferreira, this was an evening "to help support local charities that help women and children" according to Pia.

The evening's coordinator and host, Alitza Pia.

A native of Slovakia, Pia has lived in the United States for over 28 years, and has called Sag Harbor home for the past seven. Deeply committed to her adopted community, Pia hopes that the proceeds from this event, as well as future events she has planned will benefit The Retreat in particular, as she is "concerned about the plight of abused and homeless women, and the great need [I feel] to assist in any way in the protection and safety of these women, as well as single mothers and children."

Formerly involved in fashion design, Pia is finding that a great deal of her time has been so taken up with Le Salon Piquant and the causes the group believes in and want to align themselves with, that she has been approached recently about coordinating events for other organizations.

Pia also relayed that membership in the women's group is $20/month (presently there are about 20 members), and that she has been able to obtain free use of venues such as restaurants, but she or the group covers the expenses of any performers. Hoping that future events might coincide with her "love of dancing" Pia remarked "that I am trying to put together an event every two or three weeks."

As dancing was most definitely the 'theme' of the evening Jim Turner and The Jim Turner Band had the house rockin' as is usual when this consummate musician hits the stage. Turner's signature harmonica solos never disappoint, and sometimes leave his audience compelled to come to a complete stop in the middle of the dance floor simply to listen to each nuance and note he raises from this humble instrument.

Cristina Ferreira is moved by the music.

Turner's masterful musicianship is always evident in each set, and he is ably backed by Miranda Gatewood on bass, James Bernard on drums and the always entertaining 'Bosco' on guitar. Additionally, Cristina Ferreira and DJ 94 joined in with some percussion instruments to give a 'salsa' feel to some tunes.

Turner handles his own guitar like and an old and trusted friend which can always be counted on to help him deliver smooth and interesting melodies, whether they are covers or originals songs - his individual flair and professionalism ensure his sets are always entertaining and fun.

Cristina Ferreira is from Brazil and "loves to dance - it is my passion," indeed it is - this lady never stopped for a moment - her energy and enthusiasm were contagious - she gets everyone up on the floor - demonstrates a few simple steps and encourages all "to simply release your energy and move." With a beatific smile and the appropriate music provided by DJ 94 she urges one to move, shake, samba, rumba, salsa and find the beat and rhythm - obviously she has never heard of "two left feet" and grandly managed to make a few uncomfortable but game hoofers shine with a reckless 'gotta dance' bravado. Perhaps "Dance Fever" was a name derived from watching this lady move - and move she can - exhibiting rhythmic steps and spins that were an absolute pleasure to observe. Ferreria engaged any man or woman on the floor to dance with such abandonment that nobody seemed aware of how many times toes were trampled on and won't feel the pain until the next day.

Pia, Turner, Ferreira and DJ 94 provided an entertaining and energetic evening benefiting a worthy cause leaving everyone happy - albeit some with swollen feet and bruised toes - and a small price to pay for such an enjoyable evening.

Eileen Casey spent many years working in the television and music industries in New York City on the "ABC In Concert" weekly series, as well as several prime time network and cable television specials. An award-winning journalist, editor, and artist, and former Editor-in-Chief of Hamptons.com, she enjoys staying warm in Charleston and cool in the Hamptons.


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