BY ANGELA ROMEO

The arts have more facets than the Hope Diamond. The arts encompass poetry, novels, painting, sculpture, comedy, screen plays – the list is infinite as we are all creative beings. Included in the arts is dance. All cultures embrace dance. On March 1, Dancing With Our Stars hits the Agua Caliente Casino. Some couple will dance to show case a dance. Some couples will dance for the benefit of a given charity.

The event is produced by Lynne Bunch. “This event was originally created by A Charity Affaire in 2006 to provide a multi-charity fundraising venue,” said Lynne. “Since its inception it has raised $452,000 for 89 different charities including Act of MS, Desert Arc, and Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital. This year, couples are raising funds for Red Hot Ballroom and Variety Children’s Charity of the Desert, among others.”

“The event is an opportunity open to not only charities to use as a fundraising opportunity, but to showcase Amateur and Pro-Am couples. All couples participate for the Audience Choice trophy in their respective categories.”

“Information regarding the event and participants can be found at dancingwithourstars.com. The site also links people to the charities’ websites to purchase tickets and learn about sponsoring opportunities,” continued Lynne.

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I will be the amateur partner with professional dancer Isa Lapaj of Step by Step Dance Studio in Palm Springs. Why Red Hot Ballroom? For me it is because Dance is a complete art -it blends movement, music, math, physiology, mental acuity, artistic symmetry into one package. Dance is an activity that can be taken through one’s life and done by almost anyone who is willing to let loose and experience the joy of movement. The program allows social interaction without iPad, iPhone or another smart device.

For Isa Lapaj Red Hot Ballroom is a passion. The native Albanian, who has called the Coachella Valley home since 1980, has been teaching dance for over 40 years. He brings an air of grace and elegance to the dance floor and seeks to impart that effortless notion of dance to all his students, regardless of age or experience. He is one of those volunteers who brings dance to the students of Red Hot Ballroom.

“Dancing is about harmony. It is one in harmony with the music. It is one in harmony with the other dancers. But the connection in social dance between partners makes the art of dance an art of trust.  Communication is achieved through the movement; the social interaction between people. Too often we lose that personal connection because we have become so digital. The human element of dance is not digital,” said Isa.

“Teaching children through Red Hot Ballroom allows me to share the beauty of dance with these young people. They learn that there is life in the real world. Dance is the art form that goes with them throughout their lives. It is a privilege to share my knowledge with such eager students.”

The competition is  on March 1st at Agua Caliente Casino Cahuilla Ballroom in Rancho Mirage at 1:00 pm, tickets are $90; includes lunch and $20 donation towards votes.

For more information about Isa Lapaj and Step By Step Dance Studio got to www.stepbystepps.com. For more information about Red Hot Ballroom visit https://www.facebook.com/pg/Red-Hot-Ballroom-497451477071216. For more information on Dancing With Our Stars visit www.dancingwithourstars.com.