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Noteworthy

Meet Boca's Ballroom Battle Contestants Competing In This Summer's George Snow Scholarship Fundraiser

Eight community leaders are spending the summer training for an epic dance showdown at the Boca Raton Resort & Club. 

They'll hit the dance floor for Boca's Ballroom Battle Aug. 20, each paired with a professional dancer from the Fred Astaire Dancing Studio in Boca—à la "Dancing With The Stars." 

Unlike in the show, however, the winner will be the contestant who raises the most money for the George Snow Scholarship Fund, which awards college scholarships to Palm Beach County high school students.

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Get to know the 2016 Boca's Ballroom Battle participants—from their signature dance moves to their biggest dance fails—with the Q&A's below:

 

Donna Biase

Co-Founder, Best Foot Forward

 

Age: 51

Hometown: Belleville, New Jersey

Current City of Residence: Boca Raton

What made you want to compete in Boca's Ballroom Battle? We work with students who are in foster care. Many times, they have little control over their lives and they live life outside of a comfort zone. Anyone who knows me knows dancing is way outside of my comfort zone. I decided that I needed to step into some dancing shoes to show my support of the kids. I am dedicating my dance to them.

You’re hitting the dance floor with your friends. What’s your signature move? (Be honest!) Trying to keep up with everyone else.

Which song (old or current) just makes you want to get up and move? Anything disco

What's your most embarrassing dance memory? My first group dance class when I realized I was the worst one on the floor.

If you were cast on "America's Got Talent," what would be your real talent (dancing or otherwise)? Doing something athletic. I was a decent volleyball player in my day.

 

Dan Davidowitz

Chief Investment Officer and Portfolio Manager 

 

Age: 43

Hometown: Marlboro, New Jersey

Current City of Residence: Boynton Beach

What's your favorite dance style? I love watching swing dancing. Hopefully I can learn one day.

You’re hitting the dance floor with your friends. What’s your signature move? (Be honest!) Shuffling back and forth while clapping to the beat. A timeless classic.

Which song (old or current) just makes you want to get up and move? "Shut Up and Dance" (guilty pleasure)

What's been the biggest challenge? Loosening up.

What's your biggest dance strength and your biggest weakness? My biggest strength is that I really want to learn and improve. My biggest weakness is that my mind hasn't convinced my body that that is the case.

 

Alex Eremia

VP, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary, Boca Raton Regional Hospital

 

Age: 17,685 days old (Translation: 48)

Hometown: Santa Barbara, California

Current City of Residence: Boca Raton

What's your favorite dance style? Anything Latin

You’re hitting the dance floor with your friends. What’s your signature move? (Be honest!) I’ve got the “Chicken Dance” nailed.

Which song (old or current) just makes you want to get up and move? "Le Freak" (by Chic)

What's your most embarrassing dance memory? I think others are more embarrassed for me when they see me dance.

If you were cast on "America's Got Talent," what would be your real talent (dancing or otherwise)? Arguing with that pompous ass Simon Cowell.

 

Peter Gary

Founder/CEO, Pinnacle Advertising and Marketing

Age: 52

Hometown: Rochester, New York

Current City of Residence: Boca Raton

Which song (old or current) just makes you want to get up and move? "Fireball" (new), "Fly Me To The Moon" (old)

What’s your most embarrassing dance memory? Attended a Halloween party dressed as Hugh Hefner and, while dancing in my bathrobe, I was unaware that I was flopping around while not wearing any underwear!

What’s been your favorite part of the training experience so far? Camaraderie

If you were cast on "America's Got Talent," what would be your real talent (dancing or otherwise)? Sarcastic comedy 

 

Bonnie Halperin 

Visionary Entrepreneur, Philanthropist, Volunteer

 

Age: Age is just a number

Hometown: Baltimore, Maryland

Current City of Residence: Boca Raton

What made you want to compete in Boca's Ballroom Battle? It was on my bucket list of amazing things to do!

What's your favorite dance style? Any dance that I can be the star.

You’re hitting the dance floor with your friends. What’s your signature move? (Be honest!) My "Drop it Like it's Hot" split

Which song (old or current) just makes you want to get up and move? "Uptown Funk"

What's been the biggest challenge? Getting to practice on time.

 

Stacey Packer

Board Member, Florence Fuller Child Development Center and COO of the Packer Family

 

Age: 45

Hometown: Hollywood, Florida

Current City of Residence: Boca Raton

What made you want to compete in Boca's Ballroom Battle? Friends who are involved found out I was taking ballroom lessons and encouraged me to say yes!

Which song (old or current) just makes you want to get up and move? "Disco Inferno"

What's your most embarrassing dance memory? Recently, I was dancing in a competition—my first one—I lost track of my next move, and my instructor asked me what I was doing. In the middle of the routine. I had to improvise and collect my thoughts.

What's been your favorite part of the training experience so far? Bonding with the other dancers.

 

Doug Paton

Chief Operating Officer, Flagship Solutions Group

Age: 57

Hometown: Oakville Ontario, Canada

Current City of Residence: Delray Beach

What made you want to compete in Boca's Ballroom Battle? I believe in the cause! Education is the key to success.

What's your favorite dance style? My wife calls it crazy dancing. Just fast.

You’re hitting the dance floor with your friends. What’s your signature move? (Be honest!) A combination of disco and Yeehaw…

Which song (old or current) just makes you want to get up and move? If it’s got a beat, moving my feet.

What's been the biggest challenge? Left, right, left, right, left, right…

 

Samantha Vassallo

Senior Vice-President and Wealth Advisor, SunTrust Wealth Management

Age: 45                           

Hometown: Suffern, New York

Current City of Residence: Boca Raton

What's your favorite dance style? Latin – the Samba, Salsa and Hustle are fun to dance

Which song (old or current) just makes you want to get up and move? "Cake by the Ocean" by DNCE

What's your most embarrassing dance memory? Slipping and falling in the middle of a circle of people while dancing the Hokey Pokey at my cousin’s wedding when I was 13.

What's been the biggest challenge? The song I am dancing to the night the show is a bit theatrical, and I am not a good actress!