All week, Pitkin County Sheriff Joe DiSalvo has been practicing his moves for his debut dance performance on Friday at Aspen Santa Fe Ballet’s premiere fundraiser, Dancing with the Stars. Community members dance with ballet company members in competition against one another.
A winner is selected in an audience vote.
“I’d rather deal with a man with a gun than do this,” he said, adding that the feels out of his element. “That’s a more comfortable place for me.”
DiSalvo has been learning a dance routine with dancer Sam Campanile. At first, the sheriff was apprehensive, but he has loosened up over the past few days.
“Slowly he’s definitely changed his tune,” she said. “We’re laughing, we’re having a really great time.”
DiSalvo has never been a dancer. Aside from just going out to dance for fun, he never had any formal training. DiSalvo and Campanile are dancing to “Jailhouse Rock” by Elvis Presley.
He doesn’t mince words when asked what the worst part of this has been.
“The week,” said DiSalvo. “The whole week. Every minute of it. Every second of it. Even when I’m not here, it’s stressful.”
Campanile is firm in her support of her dance partner, saying that he’s learned a lot in just a short amount of time.
In addition to the competition, Aspen Santa Fe Ballet’s Tom Mossbrucker and Paige Price from Theatre Aspen will be performing together. Let’s say the bar will be set pretty high. The tough competition doesn’t frighten him though, because he’s got an ace up his sleeve.
“No vote, and you go to jail, it’s that simple,” said DiSalvo.