Dunwoody Police Chief Billy Grogan loves to watch the popular “Dancing with the Stars” TV show, which features celebrities and professional dancers performing complicated choreography.
Now, he gets his own chance to show off his fancy footwork. Well, maybe.
“I have two left feet,” he said with a laugh after being congratulated on being selected to perform as part of the Oct. 14 “Dancing with DeKalb Stars” fundraiser.
The event is hosted by DeKalb County Solicitor-General Donna Coleman-Stribling to raise money to fight domestic violence.
“I don’t know if congratulations or condolences are in order,” he said.
Grogan is one of several DeKalb County officials who will be partnered up with dance professionals for the event taking place at the Porter Sanford III Performing Arts and Community Center in Decatur. Money raised will go to the Women’s Resource Center to End Domestic Violence and The International Women’s House.
“These two organizations work daily to assist those lost in the cycle of abuse and our office wants to assist these non-profits in their fundraising efforts,” Coleman-Stribling said in a prepared statement. “With the help of our ‘DeKalb Stars’ we hope to accomplish this goal and bring awareness to an issue that affects our community.”
Other officials scheduled to cut a rug include DeKalb CEO Michael Thurmond, DeKalb County Commissioner Kathie Gannon, DeKalb Fire and Rescue spokesperson Capt. Eric Jackson and former DeKalb Sheriff Thomas Brown.
“This is the first time they’re having this event and I’m always a sucker for a good cause and this is definitely for a good cause,” Grogan said.
Grogan’s dance partner is Bridget Roosa, associate professor of dance at Agnes Scott College. She disagrees with Grogan’s assessment of his dancing abilities.
“I think it’s more of a confidence level. He’s picking up really well, especially for someone with no training,” she said.
The two have been practicing together a couple of times a week for the past several weeks in “pretty rigorous” sessions, Grogan said. “I’m finding out how out of shape I am,” he said.
Roose said the routine they are practicing is a “fast and furious” modern jazz piece that lasts two minutes and 40 seconds. The routine includes a desk and a lot of rolling and spinning in two office chairs.
“You’re not going to see us in a sparkly dance costume,” she said. “We have been just having a lot of fun.
“It’s really fast,” she added. “There’s a lot of running and spinning. By the end we’re both pretty worn out.”
Grogan said he’s gotten some good-natured teasing from other officers at the police department and has even been caught practicing in the conference room.
“That was a little awkward,” he said.
But any embarrassment is worth it to raise money for the beneficiaries, he said.
Roosa, who is also a strong proponent of raising awareness of domestic violence, said the event should be a good time for all. And, she said, the technique and discipline Grogan is learning on the dance floor should definitely help him in his role as top cop in Dunwoody.
“Dancing is about focus and discipline and leadership … and, of course, stamina. I think dance is more than just moving the body and applies to everybody in everyday life,” she said.