Posted on 18 May 2012
The Manor Restaurant and Complex in Wilton Manors will once again be the scene this Monday, as the not-for-profit Brian Neal Fitness and Health Foundation presents the return of “Dancing with the South Florida Stars,” a star-studded gala to benefit persons with HIV/AIDS and other challenging conditions with fitness programs and healthy lifestyle regimens, supervised by licensed and trained professionals.
A “Who’s Who” of local celebrities, glitterati, and business and community leaders have spent the past six weeks preparing their minds and bodies at the dance and aerobics studio at Wilton Manors’ Island City Health and Fitness, building their dance moves and athletic skills to the absolute peak of their individual performances for the main event, the proceeds from which will benefit the Brian Neal Fitness and Health Foundation, a not-for-profit service organization that assists financially-challenged persons living with HIV/AIDS and other life altering conditions, through free gym memberships, group workout sessions, and ongoing lifestyle education classes covering all facets of living a healthy, balanced lifestyle: diet, exercise, physical and emotional well-being, positive life choices, along with coaching and mentoring from licensed and trained professionals.
With a format that is well-known to fans of the hit TV program “Dancing with the Stars,” ten partnered South Florida Star teams will assemble Monday night at 7 p.m.—following a 6 p.m. silent auction to benefit charity—in the main nightclub of The Manor on Wilton Drive to compete for the championship title claimed last December by local businessman Bruce Bogan, the owner of Copy This, and his dance partner, nationally-famous drag performer Electra. Bogan, recuperating from a life-altering event himself—a heart attack earlier this year—retires with Electra as Undefeated Reigning Titleholders. For Season Two, organizers have assembled another star-studded ensemble to rival the superlative Season One cast, including allstar celebrity judges, hosts, and world-class entertainers.
Season Two judges include international recording star and dance diva Pepper MaShay, whose music has been featured prominently on “Queer as Folk” and elsewhere, former “La Cage” performer and internationally-acclaimed female impersonator Marvin Nathan (“Fullsized Cher/Cousin Ira” from the CBS-TV hit “The Nanny”), and superstar entertainer and longtime local favorite, Misty Eyez. Nationally-renowned drag sensation and Florida Continental Elite champion Diva, along with singing powerhouse and former Mr. Continental Philip Alexander host the evening’s star-studded proceedings, with live special performances from the “Dreamgirls” dance ensemble— comprised of Nicole T. Philips, Déjà Devonier, and Velvet Lenore—as well as by internationally-famous Pepper MaShay, the outrageous and often-imitated Marvin Nathan, South Florida’s delightful and delicious Diva, and many others yet to be announced.“The cast members themselves have devoted a lot of time—and sweat—to making this fun.” Brian Neal, Founder
This season’s cast features many names and faces familiar to the LGBT community, both in South Florida and worldwide: Nightclub promoter and event mega-producer Gary Santis of The Manor teams up with the talented Erika Norell, the Sunshine Cathedral’s Corrie Boyd partners up with the lovely Nicole T. Philips, former federal prosecutor and current candidate for Broward County State Attorney Chris Mancini will trip the light fantastic with popular singer Kevin Aviance, local musical icon Richard Cortez (who just had an album release) and teammate (and longtime Palace headliner and SoBe celeb) Noel Leon, Genesis Health Institute founder Dr. Ferdinand Cabrera (dance) partners with (life) partner Dimitri Bakoulis, Dr. Alan Shafer of Island City Eyewear and local celebrity performer Jennifer McClain, hot, smart, and charming Billy Rowan of Mona’s Bar dances with Palm Beach drag sensation Velvet Lenore, South Florida celebrity photographer Michael Murphy and Lips Sunday Brunch drag host Nicolete, Fun Maps publisher Alan Beck and the fiery Déjà Devonier, and—unique to Season Two—the dancing “threesome” of drag diva legend Tiffany Ariagus, sultry Boardwalk Bar hostess Krystal K, and Boardwalk dance promoter (and former TV anchor) Robby J. Brian Neal, founder of the eponymous Foundation which sponsors the evening’s entertainment, says that guests to this year’s gala fundraising night will not be disappointed.
“In as much as last year’s ‘Dancing with the South Florida Stars’ exceeded every possible expectation, I am very happy about the lineup of celebrity entertainers, and the cast members themselves, who have devoted a lot of time—and sweat—to making this a fun and rewarding night for everyone, especially the beneficiaries of the Foundation’s grants,” Neal said. In addition to the other benefits, recipients of grants also receive an online training program to document their journey to healthy living—through exercise, diet, and a good emotional outlook—as well as materials to document their ongoing success. Last year’s proceeds from “Dancing with the South Florida Stars I” totaled just over $10,000, which went to fund the not-for-profit’s ongoing mission.