By Mary Frost
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Carlo Scissura, President and CEO of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, says he’s going to “channel my inner John Travolta” as he goes mano-a-mano against other Brooklyn movers and shakers at the 2013 “Stars of New York Dance” competition, a high-stakes dance-off similar to “Dancing with the Stars.”
The 2013 Stars of New York Dance will bring fleet-footed Brooklyn business and community leaders on stage to shimmy and shake for a cause, and to honor artist and philanthropist Danny Simmons. Simmons is founder and vice president of Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation, which uplifts the lives of children and youth through the arts.
The competition takes place on November 7 at 7 p.m. at the Kumble Theater for the Performing Arts, on the Long Island University campus at One University Plaza in Downtown Brooklyn.
Scissura told Chamber members that he’s thrilled to be taking part this year. “This is a wonderful program that helps kids from all over the borough channel their creative energy in a positive way. As for me, I hope that I can channel enough creative energy myself to put on a great show! As a Bensonhurst boy, I will channel my inner John Travolta and do my best ‘Saturday Night Fever’ impression. Of course, when it comes to winning the competition, my goal is just ‘Stayin' Alive.’”
Scissura better start practicing, because the competition looks tough. Dancing this year are Elwanda Young, SVP and COO of United Way of NYC; L. Joy Williams, President of the Brooklyn NAACP; the Honorable Betty Staton, Exec. Dir. Of Bedford-Stuyvesant Community Legal Services; Robert L. Henry, Exec. Dir. of the Frank R. Bell Funeral Home; and Minister Joel Youngblood, COO of Mt. Pisgah Baptist Church.
These “Dancing Stars” will be partnered with six professional dance artists who teach and perform with a community-based dance organization. (See the list of dancers at: www.thestarsofnewyorkdance.com)
The Dancing Stars will compete to win a $5,000 dance scholarship award for their dance partners’ organization that will provide free or subsidized dance education to children and youth, and pay for their dance tuition fees, class uniforms, shoes and dance costumes.
Errol Lewis, of NY1 News will host the event, with special presentations by Karen Brooks Hopkins, President of the Brooklyn Academy of Music, and Ella J. Weiss, President of the Brooklyn Arts Council. Borough President Marty Markowitz and his wife Jamie are this year’s Honorary Chairs.
Past participants have included Public Advocate and mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio, the Rev. Al Sharpton, Kenneth Smaltz, President & CEO, K. Smaltz, Inc., New York State Senator Kevin Parker, and Council Member and Public Advocate candidate Letitia James.
"Dancing Star" Kevin Parker and his dance partner Zakiya M. Harris won the 2012 competition and took home $5,000 for Asase Yaa African American Dance Theater to provide dance education to children from low-income communities in Brooklyn.
United Way of New York City, MetroPlus Health Plan, WABC-TV, Anheuser-Busch Stella Artois, Our Time Press Newspaper and Profiles 88 Magazine are sponsors of the 2013 Stars of New York Dance.
VIP tickets include VIP seating and the 5:30 p.m. cocktail reception: $125. General admission tickets: $75. Purchase tickets online at www.kumbletheater.org. Checks can also be made payable to The Stars of New York Dance and mailed to P.O. Box 170511, Times Plaza Station, Brooklyn, NY 11217.
More at www.thestarsofnewyorkdance.com