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ANN CONWAY

Elegant Gala Crowd Dances the Lambada

February 22, 1990|ANN CONWAY

Call it the calm before the storm. Elegantly dressed and tressed, party-goers attending Saturday night's "Heart to Heart Gala" quietly sipped libations as they rubbed elbows and scribbled silent auction bids at the Four Seasons Hotel.

On view during the sedate reception: gown after figure-hugging gown worn by some of Orange County's most breathtaking thirtysomethings. Ball chairwoman Lee Ann Siffermann, hair upswept, virtually slithered across the room in her iridescent mermaidesque slink, complete with stars and fish-tail train. Co-chair Patty Edwards, hair flowing, got hearts fluttering in a tight, white sheath splashed with gold bugle beads (and heart cutouts, front and back). Judy Barry stole the sartorial show in a strapless, deep-purple clinger rimmed with ruffles, top and bottom. Toni Hashimoto turned heads in an emerald green-beaded Bob Mackie paired with a black-chiffon cape trimmed in black fox.

But, my, how the climate changed when someone threw open the ballroom doors. Before they knew it, the cool-as-a-cucumber crowd was red-pepper hot, dancing with the Le Masquerade troupe to everything from the sound of swing to the Lambada, the Brazilian beat "that's created this year's answer to dirty dancing!" said choreographer Dennis Schussel.

Suddenly on view: thirtysomethings torn between keeping their pricey coifs and creations intact or Lambada-ing their hearts out (somehow, they managed to do both).

The gala, which raised about $100,000 for the Orange County chapter of the American Heart Assn., marked the fourth appearance at the annual affair by the New York-based Le Masquerade. "We're appearing in the Academy Awards this year," Schussel said. "And just last week, we did a Hollywood party that had Ronnie and Nancy as guests." Did the former President dance? "Well, no," Schussel said, trying to look sad. "But, really. Could you see him doing the Lambada?"

When they weren't aerobicizing, guests were tending their hearts with a dinner of poached salmon, grilled breast of chicken with prawns and a dessert to die for: a chocolate heart filled with vanilla mousse and fresh berries.

Also on the scene: advisory chairwoman Tina Schafnitz, who was expecting her baby, Alexander, in six weeks. "I'm just going to have to sit this one out," Schafnitz said with a tiny sigh. Proud pop Matt Schafnitz knew Alexander was having a good time. He's a happy baby, Matt said. "I talk to him every day after work. I tell him I love him, that I can't wait to see him and that he has a great bedroom. He kicks and talks back!" Guest Missy Theriot was also taking it easy. "I'm expecting my third child in 13 days," she said.

Jim Edwards--hubby of Patty--is president of Edwards Theaters Inc. We simply had to know who he thought would snare this year's Academy Awards. Jim's predictions: "Born on the Fourth of July" will get the Best Picture nod. Jessica Tandy will win the Oscar for Best Actress and Tom Cruise will be named Best Actor.

Also among guests were committee members Mimi Crosson, Sally DeYoung, Dafri Estes, Bobbi Felsot, Betsy Forman, Debbie George, Heidi Miller and JoAnne Stewart.

Event proceeds will be used for heart research and educational programs.

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