Cabot ‘stars’ put on their dancing shoes

By Lisa Burnett Originally Published February 3, 2013 at 12:00 a.m.
Updated February 1, 2013 at 9:46 a.m.
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PHOTO BY: Curt Youngblood

John and Paula Shirron rehearse the opening dance for the Dancing With the Cabot Stars program. The Cabot Panther Foundation’s second dance competition is scheduled for March 28.

— “Stars” in the Cabot community are lacing up their dancing shoes to compete in The Cabot Panther Foundation’s second Dancing With the Cabot Stars on March 28.

Sarah Owen, president of the Cabot Panther Foundation, said the foundation is a nonprofit organization that raises and distributes funds throughout the Cabot School District.

The foundation held the first event in 2011, and it sold out, selling more than 900 tickets.

Last year, the Cabot Schools Fine Arts Auditorium was being renovated, so the foundation decided to skip 2012 and present another event in 2013 to highlight the improved theater in Cabot.

“It’s had a total renovation,” Owen said.

Seven couples will compete in the dance competition this year. The couples include administrators and faculty members from the Cabot Public Schools and community members. Competitors will be judged in various categories that will be decided by the foundation at a later date.

“We try to pick personalities that are fun, outgoing and entertaining,” Owen said. “Everybody’s different in what they can bring to the stage.”

Most people in the Cabot community haven’t seen the people who will perform in this year’s event on stage before, and Owen said that’s part of the reason the event is so successful.

“It’s the excitement of families seeing people that they know, that they work with, that they respect, in a different environment,” Owen said.

Owen said foundation members hope to make Dancing With the Cabot Stars an annual event.

The seven couples have been practicing since November, and each couple is responsible for learning and performing an individual routine, along with a group opening number.

The dances were choreographed by Priscilla Morris of Priscilla’s School of Dance and Lisa Cotroneo of the Cabot Dance Academy.

John and Paula Shirron, both involved with the Cabot School District, are one of the seven couples competing in the event. They said the weekly practices they attend give them a “date night.”

“Our three children stay with my mom, and we get to come and be silly and make fools of ourselves,” Paula said.

The two have been able to find the fun in practicing twice a week and have enjoyed themselves.

“It’s been a blast because we like to goof around,” John said.

Although the Shirrons are married, some of the couples who are competing didn’t know each other prior to being assigned to each other as partners.

Casey Hanna and Clark Bing, both school employees, met after they were both chosen for the Dancing With the Cabot Stars competition.

“[My favorite part] is getting to know new people,” Hanna said. “This has been a stress reliever.”

Although the show is a few months away, the couples are hard at work because of what the event is all about. Bing said what is keeping him going in the competition is knowing that the proceeds from the program will go to the Cabot Panther Foundation.

When the final performance comes around, some couples said, they will have some stage fright, but Bing is expecting victory and “lots of laughs” to be had.

The $12 tickets are available at Priscilla’s School of Dance, the Cabot Dance Academy and the Cabot Public Schools Central Administrative Office.

Staff writer Lisa Burnett can be reached at (501)244-4307 or

Online News Editor Lisa Burnett can be reached at

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