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Civic group votes to sidestep peace dance

Give peace a dance?

Not at the Inverness Highlands Civic Association, which canceled the Dance For Peace performance scheduled for Tuesday.

The dance was the idea of Lefty Dave Smith, a local country and rock musician who said his focus was to get people thinking about peace. The first dance scheduled for last month was canceled because of a power outage caused by bad weather.

To advertise the second Dance For Peace, Smith placed signs along S Apopka Avenue and near the Inverness Highlands Civic Association Clubhouse on Little Al Court. The signs contained the peace symbol as the middle letter in the word "for." Unknown to him, the executive committee of the Inverness Highlands Civic Association met Friday and voted unanimously to cancel the dance. Word didn't reach Smith until a few days later, after he had posted the signs.

"The president of the Civic Association (Lee Cloward) called me and gave me the bad news," Smith said Monday.

"He said they (executive committee members) weren't happy with the idea of a dance for peace, and they weren't too happy with me," Smith said.

During an interview Monday, Cloward said he felt the group should have honored its agreement. He said the dance should have been held as scheduled. "I think we should have encouraged it and helped him make it a success," Cloward said. "But I could sense the feelings from the rest of the executive committee. The complaints were acrimonious."

Cloward said the complaints were that Smith was not a good singer and that he didn't energize the crowd at a recent dance.

Smith disagreed.

"I played at the Civic Association a couple of weeks ago, and they seemed to like me. I kept the crowd going all night long, and that's a good sign," he said.

Smith is a frequent and popular performer at many service clubs and organizations such as the VFW and American Legion. He recently released States of Mind, a collection of original songs, some dealing with his perceptions of post-9/11 America.

Smith said he is looking for a another venue to hold the Dance For Peace. He seemed to take the news of the canceled show in stride.

"Outside of a cracked heart, it's all right," he said. "It is heartbreaking that you can't get peace going anywhere these days."

Jorge Sanchez covers arts and entertainment in Citrus County. Call (352) 860-7313 or e-mail sanchezsptimes.com.

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