Dancing and dentistry are not all that different.
Kyra Chadbourne, a dentist in Falmouth, made that discovery earlier this year when she started taking dance lessons. She thought she’d simply be “flowing around the floor and having fun,” but soon found her instructor approached his work the way she approaches hers.
“What I do every day, in the mouth, is small and very technical,” said Chadbourne, of Falmouth Dentistry. “And he approached dance in a similar way, very technical and no-nonsense. I’d be walking around the room, and he’d say, “knees straight, shoulders down, stomach up.” There’s 50 different things going on at the same time.”
Chadbourne and nine other dentists from around Maine will trade in their smocks and goggles for dancing shoes Friday as part of a fundraising event called Dancing with the Dentists at the Italian Heritage Center in Portland.
Each dentist – five men and five women – will be paired with instructors from Ballroom Dance Portland and compete before a panel of judges for the coveted Mirrorball Trophy.
“It’s like ‘Dancing with the Stars’ except we’re not stars, we’re dentists,” said Rohini Badlani of Central Maine Dentistry in Manchester, another competitor.
“Dancing with the Stars” is an ABC TV show that pairs celebrities, TV stars or pro athletes with dance professionals. Dentistry is not part of the mix, usually.
Dancing with the Dentists was created in 2013 by Falmouth dentist Glen Knock, who had begun dance lessons a year earlier. He thought a dancing dentists event “would be a great way to show the public how much fun dentists can be.” That may be something worth reminding people of, since not everyone has fun going to the dentist.
The event is a fundraiser for two charities, The Root Cellar and The Dental Lifeline Network. The Root Cellar, with locations in Portland and Lewiston, provides a range of services to people in need, including dental care and medical care. The Dental Lifeline Network, through its Donated Dental Services program, provides free dental treatment to the elderly, disabled people and those who are ill.
The last Dancing with the Dentists event, in 2015, raised $48,000 from sponsors, donations and admissions.
The dentists participating say they’re glad to get out on the dance floor for a good cause. But being dentists, they want to do it well.
Chadbourne, who said her dancing experience was mostly limited to ballet lessons as a child, started taking dancing lessons in January to get ready. She’s been practicing about twice a week for her big moment. She’ll dance a rhumba to the song “Stand By Me” with instructor Ramon Martinez Campos.
She wants to look competent in front of other dentists, family, friends and patients who might be in attendance.
“My goal is to not embarrass myself,” Chadbourne said.
The event, hosted by former TV news reporter Shannon Moss, starts with cocktails and appetizers at 5:30 p.m.
The dance competition is at 7 p.m., with music by DJ Jon of Portland radio station Hot 104.7. Around 9:15 p.m., the dance floor will be turned over to the crowd.
And at that point, anyone – even people who forget to floss – will get the chance to dance with a dentist.
WHERE: Italian Heritage Center, 40 Westland Ave., Portland
WHEN: 5:30 p.m. Friday
HOW MUCH: $60