2021 Press Release and Photos

10th Anniversary of Dancing with the Martin Stars Raises $115,511

The 10th anniversary of Dancing with the Martin Stars, the signature fundraiser for the Martin County Healthy Start Coalition, was a spectacular evening with previous star alumni headlining the show.

The event was held at the Starstruck Performing Arts Center on September 25. Livestream tickets to watch the show online were also available for the first time.

In past years, stars were paired with a professional dance instructor to learn and perform a dance. To celebrate the 10th anniversary, Aubrey Campbell, associate executive director, and event coordinator, recruited ten previous stars who paired up as five competing teams. A professional dance coach trained each couple for the competition.

Participating dancers were: Cheree Ramirez and Rachel Terlizzi, coached by Marianella Tobar; Rosi Shepard and Casey Cass, coached by Craig Calvin; Shaun Kelly and Randy Pennington, coached by Marianella Tobar; Maggie Slobasky and Fabi Gonzalez, coached by Bob Murray; and Andrea Levy and Patty Morris, coached by Leah Landau.

The 2017 overall champion and top fundraiser, Dr. Brian Moriarty participated as a judge and entertained the audience with his positive, humorous comments on the stars' performances.

World champion ballroom dancers Yusuf Mihaylov and Elena Simonova, rounded out the judges panel. Both are originally from Russia and have multiple championship titles and have participated with Dancing with the Martin Stars since its inaugural year.

Mike Gonzalez, a 2018 star alumni, emceed the evening with enthusiasm and style. Both Brian Moriarty and Mike Gonzalez looked very handsome in their sequin jackets.

The Starstruck production team, headed by director Jennifer Yormak, co-founder and artistic director, produced a first-class production from beginning to end.

Samantha Suffich, chief executive officer of Martin County Healthy Start Coalition, and Steve Swindler, board president, welcomed the audience and shared the mission and programs of the nonprofit.

The event anniversary coincided with another significant milestone for the Coalition; the Healthy Start Coalitions across Florida were formed 30 years ago by the late Governor Lawton Chiles.
Governor Chiles was concerned about Florida's high infant mortality rates. With bipartisan legislative support, the state's landmark Healthy Start program demonstrates Florida's commitment to ensuring that every baby has a healthy start and a chance to succeed in life. Please visit the website www.mchealthystart.org to learn more about their programs and how you can become involved.

The evening opened with a colorful and high-powered dance routine by Marianella Tobar's Latin Addiction Formation team, followed by a video of each team and the star dancers.

Each team chose their music and dance styles, including the foxtrot, Latin fusion, milonga, theatre jazz, and a combination of foxtrot, tango and waltz.

After intermission and before the winners were announced, professional dancers Faith Jacobson and Travis Stancil, wowed the audience by dancing the cha-cha to Knock on Wood by Seal.

In addition to their dance performance, each dancer commits to raise money through sponsorships, ticket sales, and contributions.

Thanks to the hard work of all the dancers, a total of $115,511 was raised, exceeding the goal of $100,000. The money will fund many of the essential programs of the Coalition. Dancing with the Martin Stars began in 2011 and has raised $1.1million dollars.

There are two award categories, fundraising, and dancing, with one overall winner. The Overall Champion team was Casey Cass and Rosi Shepard. In fundraising, the top fundraising team was Casey Cass and Rosi Shepard, raising $40,634. The first runner up team was Shaun Kelly and Randy Pennington, raising $31,459.

Team Fabi Gonzalez and Maggie Slobasky won the dancing top score. Tied for first place runner-up dancers were Team Casey Cass and Rosi Shepard and Team Andrea Levy and Patty Morris.

The title sponsor was Casco Tools. Swing sponsors were Audi Stuart and Paul J. Feinsinger, CPA, CFP. Mambo sponsors were: Hobe Sound Farmers Market; The Gordana Uscumlic Foundation; Loving Chiropractic of Stuart, Inc.; South State Bank; and Stuart Periodontics. Please see the complete list of sponsors at www.mchealthystart.org.

Many talented and generous people contribute to make the event a success every year. Thanks to everyone’s donations, the babies and mothers of Martin County receive significant support for a healthy start for each baby.