Philanthropists swing and hustle for charity

Local area philanthropists are dominating the circuit — make that the dance circuit.

Bloomfield Hills residents Karie Ross Dombrowski, Vivian Pickard and Norman and Nicole Yatooma; and Stacey Duford of Beverly Hills were part of the 12th annual Detroit Historical Society Ball, held at the Argonaut Building in Detroit which is now known as the Taubman Center for Design Education on the campus of the College for Creative Studies.

The highlight of the gala is the “Dancing with Detroit Stars” competition, which helps fund the Society’s exhibition and educational programs at the Detroit Historical Museum and Dossin Great Lakes Museum.

For the third year in a row, Evan and Lada Mountain, owners of Fred Astaire Dance Studio in Bloomfield Hills, and their staff, took on the challenge of choreographing, rehearsing and getting our fearless contestants in prime dancing shape.

In the previous two years, Fred Astaire instructors helped couples prepare for the dance competition. This year’s twist had seven individual community activists paired with a professional from Fred Astaire Studios — except those fearless Yatoomas.

“We’re the only couple in the competition, so we had twice the amount of work,” joked attorney Norman Yatooma who danced the swing with Nicole to California Girls.

Yatooma figures they clocked in over 13 lessons and countless hours of practice, which is no small feat for the parents of four girls.

On-air personality and children’s book author Stacey DuFord was paired with Tino Maggio of Fred Astaire Studios. The two test-drove their routine in October at the Successfully Single fund-raiser for Habitat for Humanity. At the Detroit Historical Society Ball, DuFord and Maggio danced the hustle to the Aerosmith/RunDMC version of Walk This Way.

“When Tino chose the song, I knew we would be friends for life because Aerosmith is one of my favorite bands,” said DuFord, who never took dance lessons as a kid.

Though rehearsing and training was much harder than she had anticipated, DuFord had plenty of fun doing it.

“I’m big on preaching to my kids to always be curious and try new things,” said DuFord. “I was grateful for the opportunity to show them that learning new things doesn’t end when you grow up.”

And while that lesson certainly holds true for former broadcaster Karie Ross Dombrowski, who is married to Detroit Tigers President, General Manager and CEO David Dombrowski, Karie was the top vote-getter of the evening with her partner, professional Blake Kish.

Dombrowski and Kish won with their swing routine to the song Dynomite.

Sue Nine of Bloomfield Hills co-chaired the sell-out soiree of nearly 400. Money raised during the evening also goes toward the Adopt-a-Class program which was matched by Bank of America. The event itself netted over $200,000 for the Detroit Historical Society including $38,180 from the “Dancing with Detroit’s Stars” competition. Guests voted for their favorite couple with Star Cash.

Fred Astaire Studios wants you to continue to keep in step with the community by offering four lessons for $40 as a thank you to Detroit Historical Society patrons. Call (248) 454-1715 or e-mail

Recent Posts

Start typing and press Enter to search