Press Release: Young Audiences’ Dazzle: Mad Hot Ballroom Benefit is April 22nd in Princeton



February 21, 2017


Denyce Mylson

Young Audiences New Jersey & Eastern Pennsylvania


A Gala Like No Other!

Young Audiences’ Dazzle: Mad Hot Ballroom Benefit is April 22nd in Princeton

 Popular dancing for the arts gala supports arts education for children throughout the region

Back by popular demand, Dazzle: Mad Hot Ballroom V, Dancing Through the Decades will be held on Saturday, April 22, 2017 from 6pm-11pm at the Princeton Hyatt and will benefit Young Audiences New Jersey & Eastern Pennsylvania. The event will include Young Audiences’ version of a “Dancing With The Stars” Competition, a dance performance by students from Wiggins Elementary School in Camden, NJ who are participating in Young Audiences’ Adopt-a-School Initiative and a chance to win a Bliss Travels Exclusive Insider’s Trip to Provence, France!

Dazzle MHB Winners!

Young Audiences 2016 Disco Ball Trophy Winners Stacy Mattia and Juan Ramirez

The Mad Hot Ballroom Gala is modeled after the reality television program, “Dancing with the Stars,” and will feature local community leaders competing on the dance floor with professional dance instructors as their partners. Each dancer is teamed up with a professional dancer from Fred Astaire Dance Studio in Princeton where they will take lessons for 3 months to prepare for their Dazzle debut and compete for votes to win the coveted YA Disco Ball Trophy.

Dance competitors include Joanne Canady-Brown (Owner, Head Baker of The Gingered Peach in Lawrenceville), Lew Gantwerk (Former Executive Director, Center for Applied Psychology at Rutgers), D.A. Graham (Vice President, Global Integrity Leader at Nielson Company), Mark Murphy (President, Lead New Jersey), and Michele Siekerka (President, New Jersey Business and Industry Association).

“Each dancer has a personal connection to the power of the arts and Young Audiences is honored to have these five dedicated and courageous advocates working on and off the dance floor to help bring arts-rich experiences to all children in our region,” shared Liz Fillo, Young Audiences’ trustee and Dazzle co-chair.

“I have seen first-hand, ‘at risk’ public school children transform their limited opportunities into bright futures as a result of participating in programs like Young Audiences’ and I’m honored to have the opportunity to stretch my comfort zone to support their vision,” said D.A. Graham.

Dazzle MHB V Dancer Reveal

Our 2017 Dazzle VIP Dancers (from left to right) – D.A. Graham, Lew Gantwerk, Michele Siekerka, Joanne Canaday-Brown, and Mark Murphy.

Michele Siekerka shared, “When I learned of the depth and breadth of Young Audiences’ programming and the passion they have for their mission, how could I possibly say no!”

Mark Murphy expressed, “I am pleased to join with Young Audiences in their efforts to extend these vital experiences to so many in our bi-state region!”

“I want to draw more local attention to an organization supporting the arts. Being in the culinary arts field, I think it’s important to engage children and young adults in creative imaginative thinking,” said Joanne Canady-Brown.

“I am so excited about this opportunity to contribute to Young Audiences’ mission of spreading involvement in the arts to such a diversity of potential new audiences and artists,” shared Lew Gantwerk.

Another highlight of the evening will be a performance by Wiggins Elementary School students from Young Audiences’ Adopt-a-School Initiative. The program is an innovative partnership between school districts, funders and Young Audiences that brings arts education back to the underserved school children. Wiggins Elementary School is excited to share what they learned in a hip hop dance residency taught by Young Audiences’ teaching artist group Hip Hop Fundamentals.

“Wiggins School is grateful to be working with Young Audiences once again,” shared Kelly Wharton Davis, a 6th Grade teacher at Wiggins School. “This partnership has provided our educators with professional development and our students with exposure to various art forms and now an opportunity to perform at the Dazzle Gala! We are thankful to Young Audiences for their encouragement and support to make arts education a priority for the students of Camden.”

Young Audiences’ trustee Liz Fillo and Dazzle 2014 dance competition winner and trustee, Barbara Coe are gala co-chairs of the event. Dazzle professional dancers include Princeton’s Fred Astaire Dance Studio instructors Ilya Abdullin, Tara Barakov, Darya Gidaspova, Samantha Kaiser and Juan Ramirez.

“Dazzle is truly a feel-good event, and we hope that anyone who feels passionately about the arts and children will join us for a great evening,” shared Michele Russo, President & CEO of Young Audiences.  “Not only will people have a terrific time, they’ll leave knowing that they’ve helped to bring much-needed arts programming to children across the region.”

To purchase event tickets, Provence raffle tickets and vote for your favorite dancer visit  Individual tickets start at $250 and are inclusive of food, drinks and entertainment.  Provence raffle tickets are $100 each and only 300 tickets are available. Those who can’t attend can still vote for their favorite dancer at $10 per vote. All votes will be counted toward the chosen VIP dancer(s) to help them earn the coveted YA Disco Ball Trophy.

Past Dazzle VIP dancers include:

2013 – Chris Dagget, Sue Evans, John McConaughy, and Denise Wood Darder*

2014 – Barbara Coe*, Jill Jachera, Chris Long, and Bobby Mascia

2015 – Katie Hughes Redmond, Tamera Matteo, Jeff Perlman*, and Bryce Thompson

2016 – Carol Cronheim, Dan Fatton, Stacy Mattia*, and Michele Minter

(* Denotes Dazzle Disco Ball Trophy Winner.) 

Dazzle: Mad Hot Ballroom V receives additional support from generous corporate sponsors, including Investors Bank, M&T Bank, NJBIA, Bliss Travels, Borden Perlman Salisbury & Kelly Insurance, Drinker Biddle, Fred Astaire Dance Studio of Princeton, Mathematica Policy Research, Merrill Lynch, NRG Energy, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, and UBS Financial Services.

For corporate sponsorship opportunities, to receive an invitation or to vote for your favorite dancer, please contact Denyce Mylson at or 609-243-9000 x202.

Photo Caption: Dazzle Mad Hot Ballroom V, Reveals VIP Dancers Joanne Canady-Brown, Lew Gantwerk, D.A. Graham, Mark Murphy, and Michele Siekerka at the Meet & Greet event at Fred Astaire Dance Studio in Princeton.

Additional photos available upon request.


About Young Audiences

Founded in 1973, Young Audiences New Jersey & Eastern Pennsylvania is the premier arts-in-education resource in the region, providing high-quality performances and artist-in-residence programs to schools in all 21 counties of New Jersey and the 7 easternmost counties of Pennsylvania. Young Audiences’ teaching artists represent all art forms—from dance and theater to music, language and visual arts. Since its founding, the organization has reached over 12 million children with essential arts education experiences.

A not-for-profit organization, Young Audiences’ programs are accessible to all socio-economic, ethnic, cultural, and geographic communities, and are designed to strengthen the arts in schools, meet local and state curriculum standards, involve families in arts activities, and enrich cultural life in New Jersey and Pennsylvania communities. 

Young Audiences New Jersey & Eastern Pennsylvania is the first arts education organization designated as a major service organization by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts and, as part of the national network of Young Audiences, Inc., was awarded the National Medal of Arts by President Clinton. Young Audiences programs are made possible in part through a grant from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State and Pennsylvania Council of the Arts. Additional funding comes from foundations, corporations and generous individuals. To learn more, visit To be “social” with us, join us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter @YANJEPA and on Instagram @young_audiences_njepa.