Tonight is Lesson 3 of Boca’s Ballroom Battle. As most of you know, I will be one of eight dancers in this year’s August 16 Dancing With The Stars-type event that benefits the George Snow Scholarship Fund. So far--aside from the initial terror when I realize that chubby middle-aged woman in the mirror is me now--so good. Which means I have not fallen down or kneed the instructor in the groin by accident (which happened to me when I was learning to ski.)

I am not really the competitive type, and I have no illusions about my chances of winning this, but I am sizing up my competition. Here’s what I know so far:

Dorothy MacDiarmid: Young. Pretty. Deceptively sweet. Backed by the army of the Junior League. Is already dancing in 4-inch heels.

Gary Collins: This affable country club titan downplays his dancing skills, offering up a Columbo-type persona  (“Oh I’m just trying to get through this.”) Undoubtedly backed by a legion of wealthy golf cart-driving club types who know the real Gary is as ruthless as he is light on his feet.

Anthony Dardano: This slick Italian has already busted some rock and roll moves with co-conspirator Marie Occhigrossi when they thought no one was looking They are both ringers.

Cecilia Peters: She is the Clark Kent of the group—a mild-mannered teacher with kids and a family who goes all Rita Moreno the minute they crank up the salsa music.

Chris Palermo: This baby-faced entrepreneur may be all sweetness and light but recent Facebook posts show he is a seething cauldron of competitive energy. All other contestants should be on high alert.

Mark Brockelman: OK, he says he’s an accountant but he’s got Schwarzenegger guns and a gig working out with The Miami Dolphins. He has already invited us all out on one Happy Hour, obviously in an attempt to size up our weaknesses.

Marie Occhigrossi: We know she and Dardano have that New York state of mind, but can they dominate the South Florida dance floor? Only time will tell. We do know, however, that she is already packing more than one pair of professional dancing shoes.

So there they are: the Elite Eight already plotting to win the coveted mirror ball trophy. Watch this space for updates. And if you want to lend your support to the Underdog and Really Nice Person In The Whole Group, please go to my page at and weigh in.