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THE WORLD LATIN BALLROOM DANCE CHAMPIONS DANCE FOR THE CHILDREN’S DEFENSE FUND

Saturday, February 11, 2012, 6:30 – 9:30 p.m. – Villa Rinata –2840 Chimney Rock

HOUSTON – JANUARY 4, 2012 – The Connie Kwan-Wong Charitable Foundation announces a rare and exciting evening of ballroom dance performances and entertainment featuring the most elite ballroom dance professionals in the world. Latin ballroom dance superstars, Riccardo Cocci and Yulia Zagoruychenko, have agreed to travel to Houston to perform publicly for this worthy cause. Other local professionals participating are Billy King, Selena Morano, Cristiano Callegari, Katia Kuznetsova, Enzo Zappia, Stefan Golubovic, and Rebecca Avila.

All profits raised from this event will benefit the Children’s Defense Fund of Texas. The Children’s Defense Fund of Texas is a non-profit child advocacy organization that has worked relentlessly for over 35 years to ensure a level playing field for all children. The Children’s Defense Fund of Texas champion’s policies and programs that lift children out of poverty, protect them from abuse and neglect, and ensure their access to health care, quality education and a moral and spiritual foundation.

This fabulous evening of ballroom dance performances will take place at the Villa Rinata; an elegant Mediterranean Villa nestled in the heart of the Galleria area of Houston. Built in Italian style architecture, this beautiful venue provides the perfect backdrop and location for this special event. The evening begins with a cocktail reception from 5:45 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., followed by a three course seated dinner for attending guests. This exciting evening of ballroom dance starts with Houston’s finest professional and amateur ballroom couples performances judged by Houston media celebrity judges. After the dance sequence by the professional/amateurs, an incredible dance showcase will be performed by Riccardo and Yulia and then the guests will have a chance to dance the night away.

Riccardo Cocchi and Yulia Zagoruychenko began dancing together in the fall of 2007, taking the ballroom world by storm and captivating audiences with their unique Latin style. They ascended to the finals of every major world championship as they together took their first step onto the dance floor. Riccardo and Yulia’s mesmerizing look, incredible technical aptitude, and vivacious dynamism quickly made them a favorite among both fans and judges alike. At the World Professional Latin Championships held in Bonn, Germany on November 20, 2010, DanceSport felt the impact of Riccardo and Yulia’s hard work and growth when they took home their first two-time World Professional Latin Championship; and in April of 2011, they captured their second World Professional Latin title in Moscow dancing at the legendary Kremlin ballroom. They are also two-time World Professional Champions; #1 Ranked Professional Latin Dancers in the world and five-time undefeated U.S. National Professional Latin Champions.

Also participating in the ballroom extravaganza is Billy King and Selena Morano who began their partnership in 2010 and currently competes in American Style Ballroom. This style combines the structure of traditional ballroom with the freedom to break away from dance position and incorporate elements of Latin, Jazz, and Broadway creating a more contemporary take on ballroom. In the short time Billy and Selena have developed their partnership, they have found great success on the competitive floor together. Some titles they have attained over the past year include: Indiana Challenge
Champions, Heritage Classic Rising Star Champions, People’s Choice Champions, Virginia State Rising Star Champions, Southern States Rising Star Champions, and recognized as the First Coast Classic Rising Star Champions.

Cristiano Callegari is a professional ballroom dancer and coach who helps his students and audience understand the realm of dance. Dance has been the main focus and passion of Cristiano’s life since the age of nine. Katia Kuznetsova is a professional ballroom dancer and coach. Katia was born and raised in Ukraine where she began dancing at the age of five. Katia and Cristiano are world-class competitors in the International Latin Professional division. Their partnership, which began in 2007, immediately bared development of ballroom dance community in Houston. Since then they opened and developed “Dance with Stars” Academy in Katy, TX. During all this time Cristiano and Katia raised many strong good dancers and some of them became finalists of Open to the World International Ballroom and Latin Championships. Cristiano and Katia’s most recent accomplishments in the International Latin category include: Top 31 UK Open 2011 Rising Star Professional International Latin; 5th Place in Professional International Latin National Rising Star, USDC 2009; 2nd Place in Professional International Latin in National Rising Star, Ohio Star Ball 2008; finalists in Professional International Latin in Rising Star, Embassy Ball 2008; and top 24 in Professional International Latin in Rising Star, UK Open 2008.

One of Houston’s finest professional dancers, Enzo Zappia will participate. He was born and raised in Italy where he began his passion for dance at the age of eight. Zappia has been with Dance with Stars (DWS), Inc. since 2009. He is widely recognized by leading dance organizations, acknowledged as an expert and one of Europe’s premiere professionals in that specialized field. He has an impressive list of credits, both as a competitor in the international dance competitions and as an instructor. Zappia has a remarkable list of winnings and high honors in the competitive ballroom dancing. Also, his students have competed with a great success at the national level. Moreover, as a top dancer, he has received official certification as a judge to a professional and amateur ballroom dance competition in his home country of Italy. If you were to ask Enzo what dance means to him he would respond, “Dance is my life and my work, I pour my heart and soul into it. Not a day goes by that it doesn’t give me pleasure, satisfaction, challenge, and reward.”

Stefan Golubovic was born in Montenegro, where he began his competitive career in international Latin and ballroom at the age of 5. Since that time, he has trained with world renowned dancers such as Sergej Milicija, Bato Rabrenovich, Tatsiana Lahvinovich and Zoran Plohl. He is currently training with Corky Ballas. Stefan is the current National Champion in International Latin in Montenegro and represented his country at the 2010 International Latin DanceSport World Championships. As a junior dancer, Stefan was also ranked top 1 and 2 in the world in Junior International Standard and International Latin, having earned his titles at various world cups between 2004 and 2008. Stefan is also a certified adjudicator and instructor in International Latin and Standard dances. He is currently dancing with Rebecca Avila, another wonderful professional dancer, for the U.S. in professional International Latin and lives in Houston. They were world representatives for the country of Montenegro at the 2010 Latin World Championships. In 2011, they began dancing for the U.S., placing in the top 16 for Professional Latin Rising Star at the Ohio Star Ball.

Connie Kwan-Wong created the Connie Kwan-Wong Foundation to raise awareness about the immediate problems and issues facing the children in Houston, how best to address these issues, and to serve as a bridge between the Houston community and established children’s charities to foster growth and community involvement in these charities. Her vision is to ultimately improve the lives and well-being of as many children in need as possible, from a local level to an eventual global level.

Tickets for this event can be purchased by going to the website www.ckwfoundation.org or calling 832-600-3603.

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Riccardo and Yulia

Enzo Zappia


Billy King and Selena Morano


Cristiano Callegari and Katia Kuznetsova


Stefan Golubovic and Rebecca Avila
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CONTACT:
Phyllis J. Bailey
3B Resources Group Public Relations, LLC
P.O. Box 35582
Houston, TX 77235-5582
281-438-0985 – Direct Line
281-438-6831 – Fax Line
www.3brg.com

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