Minneapolis Police Chief Janeé Harteau was seriously out of uniform Saturday at the gala for ­CornerHouse.

Her back was all out of an orange gown, which “makes me looks like a Creamsicle,” joked Harteau, who was wearing these wingy arm things and high heels. I asked five Strib colleagues what that gown detail was and none knew; I’m sure someone will enlighten me belatedly after seeing my startribune.com/video.

The police chief waltzed with professional dancer Bruce Abas, of Four Seasons Dance Studio, at the 4th annual Let’s Dance fundraiser for the organization, which supports victims of child abuse.

She didn’t win.

Heather Polivka of UnitedHealth Group was the winner at the sold-out event held at the Graves Hotel. The competition had a format similar to ABC’s “Dancing With The Stars.” Winners were selected based on a combination of votes and technical scores and some voting hanky-panky related to money raised.

Polivka was, in my opinion, the best dancer. Her samba dance moves ­merited an amusing compliment from one of the judges, Ember Reichgott Junge, a former legislator, author and consultant and a former Let’s Dance champ: “You’ve got hot hips.”

Reichgott Junge and emcee Roy Smalley both showed off their hot dance moves on the floor after the competition. I had heard that Reichgott Junge was a good dancer, but I didn’t believe it until I saw the wonk working out what I believe was the cha-cha with one of the pros. And I don’t know what Smalley was doing, but it was quite a bit more interesting and hip than I could’ve imagined of the former Twins player, dancing to “Play That Funky Music White Boy.”

Ed Padilla, CEO of NorthMarq Capital and Marquette Real Estate Group, said dancing his Latin mix was “the longest 2½ minutes of my life.”

Harteau and Abas swapped witty ripostes in a video, viewable at letsdancegala.org, that was shown at the gala.

Abas: “I’ve always enjoyed working with strong women.”

Harteau: “I feel bad. He’s got to dance with a chief. That’s got to be stressful. Did you think you’d be teaching a police chief how to dance?”

Abas: “I didn’t envision that.”

Harteau: “We did have a promise that I wouldn’t wear my gun belt, so he feels a little more secure when I’m not packin’.”

The gown Harteau was wearing couldn’t have been a bulletproof number, not with all the exposed back. I asked Harteau’s wife, Sgt. Holly Keegel, where the chief’s gun was. “It’s hidden,” Keegel said, with a twinkle in her eye.

Harteau told me she was “more of a fast-dance girl” than a waltzer. I’d have to agree after seeing her free styling after the competition. Harteau’s a good popular music dancer who’s got sambas and cha-chas in her.

Harteau’s transformation

Chief Harteau made a Disney-like transformation Saturday night.

“I was just like Cinderella. I no sooner leave downtown in my gown and I’m back to being the chief in polyester,” she told me Monday. “That’s my life, but I can do that. I can dress it up or dress it down.”

A city block separated the gala, held at Graves, from Epic Nightclub where some fool (my word, not the chief’s) took a gun that shot and killed a 27-year-old man. Rapper Yo Gotti was performing.

Sunday night, in that lovely polyester uni and a bulletproof vest, Harteau attended roll call, decried the senseless violence and lack of talking witnesses and joined her troops in a late-night patrol of the Warehouse District.

A moment with Jeannie

Barbara Eden and Melissa Gilbert, two stars of “One Song,” a movie shooting in Excelsior, attended an investor’s reception Friday.

Eden told me it was lucky she packed a beautiful red suit because she didn’t know in advance about the swanky gathering at the home of Cathy and Kevin DiLorenzo. Normally Eden said she brings only casual clothes, like jeans, to movie sets.

I was showing Eden some photos I had taken of her and she asked me not to use one of them. I deleted the photo in front of her, remarking that it was like magic. She crossed her arms and nodded her head as though we were shooting an “I Dream of Jeannie” scene.


C.J. can be reached at cj@startribune.com and seen on FOX 9’s “Buzz.” E-mailers, please state a subject; “Hello” does not count. Attachments are not opened.