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The 7th Annual Dancing With Chicago Celebrities To Take Place Next Month

The seventh annual "Dancing With Chicago Celebrities" is coming up in a little over three weeks. This is a very special fundraising event which brings Chicago area media stars together for a fun competition, all for a very good cause. Net proceeds will be donated to the Chicagoland affiliate of Susan G. Komen For the Cure, to help battle against and cope with breast cancer.

The star-studded charity dance competition will take place March 9th at the Crystal Ballroom, located within in the Hyatt Regency Chicago (151 E. Wacker Dr., Chicago) starting at 7:00pm. (The event's cocktail party begins at 6:00pm.) Similar to the ABC-TV realty program, "Dancing with the Stars," this event will take a handful of Chicago "celebrities," who will show off their newly-learned talent of ballroom dancing in a celebrity dance-off. Each celebrity has already been paired with a professional instructor/coach/choreographer whose time has been donated by Arthur Murray Dance Centers in Chicago. Following the celebrity dance-off, alumni from past year's events take the floor for a group routine, which is then followed by professionals from the Arthur Murray Dance Centers taking over the dance floor for the big grand finale.

The competitors for this year's fun event are (alphabetically):
Ryan Baker - WBBM-TV sports anchor
Desmond Clark - Former Chicago Bear Tight End
Ragina Fraser - Co-Host of WTTW-TV's "Grannies on Safari"
Erin McElroy - WGN-TV news anchor/traffic reporter
Hannah Smith - Miss Illinois 2011
Tammie Souza - WFLD-TV meteorologist
Kim Vatis - WMAQ-TV news anchor/reporter
Bruce Wolf - WLS-AM show host and WMAQ-TV fill-in sports anchor

The winner of last year's competition was Zoraida Sambolin, the now-former WMAQ-TV news anchor/reporter, who currently works for CNN based out of New York.

Those scheduled to participate in the "Alumni Dance" include (alphabetically):
Mike Adamle - WMAQ-TV sports anchor (2009 DWCC emcee)
Dina Bair - WGN-TV news reporter/anchor (2008 DWCC champion)
Rick Bayless - world-renowned "Top Chef" winner from Frontera Grill & PBS TV host, and brother to former Chicago Tribune columnist Skip Bayless (2006 DWCC champion)
Roz Varon - WLS-TV traffic anchor/reporter (2008 Competitor)
Ginger Zee - former WMAQ-TV meteorologist, current ABC-TV weekend meteorologist (2008 DWCC Competitor)

The celebrity judges will once again include:
Rick Bayless - world-renowned "Top Chef" winner from Frontera Grill & PBS TV host, and brother to former Chicago Tribune columnist Skip Bayless (2006 DWCC champion)
Nick Kosovich - former "Dancing With The Stars" dancer and US Smooth champion
Snow Urbin - former "So You Think You Can Dance" contestant and performer with the "Dancing with the Stars" tour

For the first year ever, Komen is planning something new: a "Battle of the Corporate Celebrities," which will feature well-known corporate leaders in Chicago in head-to-head competitions. Corporate dancing contestants have not yet been named.

In addition to all of the celebrity and professional dancing, the black tie event will feature incredible prizes that can be won via raffle or live auction, catered food and open dancing for all in attendance.

Tickets can be purchased online at this link HERE. Tickets can also be purchased via phone or email by contacting Hilary Grunewald at 773-444-0061 x 105 or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . All net proceeds from ticket sales and the auctions/raffles will go to the Chicagoland Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

The "Dancing with Chicago Celebrities" annual event was created over seven years ago by Jill DeMarlo, local Arthur Murray dance studio owner/franchisee, and a group of instructors from Chicago's Arthur Murray Dance studios. After seeing the resurgence of ballroom dancing across the country, thanks in large part to the popular ABC-TV show, the organizers knew this would become a huge hit here in Chicago. Since the inaugural "Dancing with Chicago Celebrities" in 2006, the event has helped to raise well over half a million dollars for charity.

It has been a difficult month for the Susan G. Komen for the Cure organization, which found itself embroiled in an ugly controversy over the last few weeks. It was revealed that the Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation, the nation's largest and most-funded breast-cancer-research advocacy group, cut its support for the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, which used the funds it gained from Komen dollars (totaling approximately $680,000 last year) to pay for breast-screening exams for underprivileged women. The funding removal seemed by many to be politically motivated, despite denials by Komen management. After a massive public backlash and loss of donations, Komen rescinded the decision, at least for this year. Komen Vice President Karen Handel, the conservative, anti-abortionist, would-be politician, who most felt instigated the funding removal from Planned Parenthood, ended up resigning from Komen under pressure. The entire incident fueled emotions on both sides of the political spectrum, with both sides expressing disappointment with Komen.

Even though the backlash against the national Komen foundation appears to now be dying down, the Chicagoland affiliate of Susan G. Komen For the Cure has pointed out that they had absolutely nothing to do with that national controversy. The Chicagoland Komen affiliate has never funded any Chicago area Planned Parenthood outfits, nor has it received any requests from Planned Parenthood to receive funding. They had nothing to do with the decision making process that started the recent controversy in the first place and are focused mainly on battling Chicago area breast cancer. 75% of the net proceeds raised by the Chicagoland Komen affiliate are dedicated to fighting breast cancer locally in the Chicago metropolitan area and surrounding suburbs. The remaining 25% of net proceeds go toward the Komen Grants Program which funds research and education programs, much of which is local.

More information about the seventh annual "Dancing With Chicago Celebrities" and the Chicagoland affiliate of Susan G. Komen For the Cure can be found HERE.


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If it has a connection to Chicago area radio, television, print, and/or other forms of media -- information on it can be found here at ChicagolandRadioAndMedia.com!