|Posted by Anne Siren on December 22, 2012 at 2:30 PM|
By Phyllis J. Neuberger
Lois Cangelosi remembers being a little girl with white leather Mary Jane shoes.
“I would pull up a rug at grandmother’s house and put on a show. I fell in love with the sound my shoes [without taps] made on her hardwood floor. I’ve been dancing ever since. My love of dance turned into a 40-year career. I was Miss Lois with my own dance studio, which I opened at 18, and ran in East Rockaway, Long Island, New York until we moved to Florida in 1994.
She and Carmine, her husband were drawn to Florida for the usual reasons of weather and health. Lois says, “I became a tennis player, but once a dancer, always a dancer. I missed dancing, went on line to see what was around and I found Esther Beardsworth who put me in touch with Cathy Dooley and her Original Florida Follies. Dancing for charitable causes to help children appealed to me and I joined the group nine years ago.”
Those dancing feet kept on moving until a balance issue forced her to step out of the chorus line and resume being a teacher to the dancers and assistant to Dooley. “I was hooked and have worked closely with Cathy ever since. And Carmine is as willing as I am to volunteer for this worthwhile organization. He’s a back stage guy who works on props and sets to get our the shows on the road. We’ve been married for 47 years and he’s been my right hand all my life. And he still is.”
Lois describes Cathy Dooley saying, “For her, the Follies is a 24/7, year-round project. She creates such a high bar but we all try to live up to her expectations. We rehearse the dancers two days a week, year ‘round, but I am involved with Cathy all the time. We have a think tank for ideas as we face each new year, and we begin to prepare just a few weeks after we finish the last show of the season. I love what I do as do all of our volunteer dancers and dedicated members of our group. You have to be to work as hard as we do.”
Asked about Lois, Cathy Dooley had this to say: “Lois Cangelosi is very special and a tremendous support for me all during rehearsals and especially in preparation for our winter season shows which run from January through March. Every year is a brand new show; therefore new routines, new production numbers, new costumes, new acts which must be continually polished and re-polished. I depend on Lois in all of these areas and she is there for me at all times. I thank Lois from the bottom of my heart.”
Husband Carmine says, “Lois has the same enthusiasm for this charity as she did for her own business, and so do I. It’s good for us, and we get a great deal of pleasure from seeing our donations at work in the children’s agencies to whom we contribute.”
Lois nods. “At our recent Christmas brunch held at the Lighthouse Point Yacht Club, we had a lot of fun, but we also all donated what looked like a store full of clothing and diapers to the children’s agencies. Mary Whyte from Family Central came in the van we bought for them last year. When she left it was with her van packed with clothing and diapers. An equal amount went to Dr. Ana Calderon and Stephanie Clayton from Children’s Diagnostic and Treatment Center who were on hand for the party. Every social function we have has a purpose, in addition to having fun, we never quit collecting for needy children. Last year we donated $100,000 dollars to these two worthy charities. And this year we hope to do as well.”
In fact, one of the dancing ladies, Hank Phillips, owner of Hanky Panky, collected and donated $500 additional dollars for much needed diapers.
Thank you, and all of the Follies volunteers for the good work you do!
Catch the Follies at Viva Las Vegas 2013 Sunday, Jan. 20 at the Omni Auditorium, Coconut Creek Call 954-462-0222; ext. #3 or visit www.parkerplayhouse.com