MEET THE STARS

Meet our stars and their partners. Don't forget to click the pair's button to vote for your favorite couple!

 

FEMALE STARS

 
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STAR BRADBURY

dancing with Jose Ramos

Star Bradbury has over 24 years in the senior living field in many different capacities. Her experience includes management, operations, public relations, event planning, and sales and marketing.  Star was an Administrative Director for several assisted living communities, Marketing and Sales Director for a dementia specific assisted living community and retired 2 years ago as the Director of Sales and Marketing for 18 years with Oak Hammock at the University of Florida, one of the premier life care retirement communities in the country.  She now has her own consulting business, Senior Living Strategies, to assist people as they formulate a plan for successful aging.   She still considers dance an important part of her life and is honored to come full circle by re-joining the board. She feels that Dance Alive is an integral and critical part of the Gainesville arts community and is committed to helping secure both its financial and artistic future.

 
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AUBREY HALL

dancing with Tim Cannon

Aubrey Hall is a Florida native and works as the Associate Medical Director for Cardiothoracic Surgery at North Florida Regional Medical Center. Outside of work, she enjoys traveling, yoga, staying active, being outdoors and giving back to her local community and participating in international medical mission trips.
As a young girl, she would watch her sister dance. She witnessed her focus, discipline, and her joy of dance. Then there was her father, a renaissance man that was passionate about music and dancing. There was never a time when music wasn't playing in the house. Both of their dedication to excel in the arts later inspired her to find her passion which was in the healing arts. And now practices as a nurse practitioner that specializes in the art of healing. 
The Arts are the heartbeat of our community and the rhythm of our culture. It often gives voice and expression. It shows the best of who we are. Your support of Dance Alive provides these amazing performers from all over the world a chance to pursue their passion right in our backyards. We are blessed to have them here and the show MUST go on!!

 
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VALESCA RUGBI

dancing with Roberto Vega

This year I was invited to be a contestant in Dance Alive's Dancing With the Stars. I´ve been training hard for this, but there is no telling how difficult this will be for me since I´m a very shy, stiff, and uncoordinated person.  You might be wondering why  I´ve put myself into this? and the  answer  is: I want to prove to myself that I can do this, and help this organization in a funny way.I'm raising money for a cause I strongly believe in, and YOUR contribution will make an impact. Dance Alive, Inc. is a local dance company that has been the state's ONLY National touring company for the last 40+ years. They have impacted lives by providing excellence through creativity, performance, education, and community leadership and now they particularly need our support to continue. The company serves the local community through children’s programming and reduced and/or free admission to underprivileged and handicapped adults, seniors and children.

 
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TARA BLYTHE

dancing with Nathan Rodriguez

Tara Blythe is the Vice President for Talent, Strategy and Communications at Infotech, one of Gainesville’s first successful startups that is still thriving today. A University of Florida triple graduate, she returned to Gainesville in 2011 to raise her family with her husband, James Blythe of Level Architecture + Interiors. While Tara loves to dance, she has no formal dance training and is hoping her skill on blades and trick skis may translate to moves on the dance floor. (Fingers and Toes crossed!) 

 
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ANNA OLCESE

dancing with Andre Valladon

Anna Olcese is a Miami native and UF College of Journalism alumna. She "temporarily" returned to Gainesville in 1998 as a trailing spouse and that experience triggered her passion to help others relocate to the area. In 2015, after two decades of working in the fields of marketing, event management, and publishing, Anna became a full-time Realtor. Today, she is the top producer at Engel & Völkers Gainesville and she also owns Segway Group, a relocation services company. She and her husband, Alex, have a college-aged daughter, Elizabeth, and are living it up as empty nesters.

 
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KATHY SARANTOS

dancing with Tales Ribiero

Friends, I am so grateful to have this oportunity to promote a cause I strongly support.  Being raised in Jamaica and surrounded by a large family, good food, and reggae music, dancing was always an integral part of our get togethers. Its been a difficult season in our country the past couple years, and I believe that being able to escape through music and dance gives us all an opportunity to feel joy and show love when times are otherwise difficult. I appreciate being able to go to a show, relaxing and watching incredibly talented people bring the arts to life on stage. 
Even though this event is  out of my comfort zone, I feel unworthy yet honored to be a part of the Dancing with the Stars Gala. 
Please help me raise awareness and funds for this amazing organization Dance Alive, Inc. as they strive to continue to enrich our community and  beyond.

 
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EMMA LUETGERT

dancing with Fhilipe Teixeira

Emma Luetgert resides in Ocala Florida and is a competitive distance runner, wife to Christopher mom to Adalay, age 12 and Chase, age 10. When she is not driving carpool or running She enjoys reading, volunteering, spending time at their Crystal River home, traveling, and entertaining any chance she can get!

 

MALE STARS

 
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WICKIE ARIET

dancing with Beatriz Correa

Wickie Ariet is an agent with Keller Willilams and excited to be dancing.

 
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ADAM BOUKARI

dancing with Rosemary Deiorio

Adam Boukari is the Founder and CEO of Abbfortis Strategies, a strategy and development consultation firm. He served as City Manager of the City of Alachua for more than three years before pursuing his entrepreneurial endeavors in 2021. His tenure as City Manager capped a 13-plus year career with the City of Alachua, where he also served as Assistant City Manager for more than six years. His time in public service was marked by unprecedented growth and development in Alachua. Highlights of his professional career include the establishment of the 105-acre Legacy Park, the investment of tens of millions in public infrastructure projects and the creation and implementation of the City of Alachua’s first ever Strategic Plan. Under Boukari’s stewardship, the City of Alachua established itself as a beacon of economic development and job growth, with major logistics operations, Fortune 500 companies, and global life science businesses calling Alachua home. He holds an MBA from the University of Florida and is a lifelong resident of Alachua.

 
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RAYMOND CHOBAZ

dancing with Ashley Brooke Lunn

Raymond Chobaz, Professor of Music and Conductor Laureate of the Gainesville Symphony Orchestra, has been music director and conductor of the University of Florida Symphony Orchestra since 1982 and the Gainesville Symphony Orchestra from its inception in 1983 to 2001. He studied at the Basel Conservatory and Schola Cantorum Basiliensis, Switzerland, where he obtained a Master of Arts degree summa cum laude in music theory. As an International Rotary Scholar at the University of Utah he received both a Master of Music degree in orchestral conducting under Joseph Rosenstock and a Ph.D. in music composition and electronic music under Vladimir Ussachevsky. Further studies allowed him to work with Herbert Blomstedt in San Francisco, Kyrill Kondrashin in Amsterdam, Raphael Kubelik in Lucerne, Erich Leinsdorf in New York City, Witold Rowicki in Vienna, and Georg Tintner in Prague. Additional training in contemporary music interpretation he acquired from Pierre Boulez in Paris and Arthur Weisberg in New York City.

 
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LUIS RODRIGUEZ

dancing with Emilia Leon

Luis is a Florida born and raised Miami native. He moved to Gainesville in 2013 to pursue a double bachelors degrees in philosophy and political science. He graduated in 2015 and began at UF Levin College of Law, continuing on to graduate in 2018. He currently practices law in Gainesville, Florida as an Assistant Public Defender representing indigent defendants accused of committing misdemeanors or third degree felonies in Alachua county. In 2020 Luis and his business partner became the second owners of the beautiful 113 year old former Masonic lodge in downtown Gainesville. The building is currently being restored and converted into a wedding/event center venue with an expected opening of summer 2021. Luis and his dance partner Emi are very excited to be the first ever tap dancers for Dance Alive’s Annual DWTS!

VOTE FOR LUIS & EMILIA
 
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DAVID FRANKLIN

dancing with Carla Amancio

Born and raised in London, England, in 2020 David moved to Gainesville to pursue a full-time MBA at the University of Florida. He graduated from the University of Oxford with a Bachelor’s Degree in Geography, during which time he met his Gainesville-born wife, Brittney Olinger. His professional experience in London included advising hedge funds and investment managers on pan-European equities at Berenberg and asset management at Investec. He also spent last summer with the University of Florida Endowment Fund (UFICO), supporting the investment team to allocate to public and private equity managers. This summer, David and his London-based business partner will be launching Solarstein Capital, an investment fund focusing on small capitalization companies. He enjoys the Florida sunshine and the strong community in Gainesville. David is grateful to his mother, Jane, for putting him in a jazz ballet class as a child because it might protect the wellbeing of Carla’s feet.

 
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MAURY
IVEY

dancing with Luana Rayssa

With your help and support, I am committed to raising funds for Florida’s only national touring ballet company - Dance Alive National Ballet.
Please join me at Dance Alice’s annual Champagne Gala on March 12, 2022 where I will perform a tango during their "Dancing with the Stars" event.
Dance Alive National Ballet is based out of Gainesville, Florida and serves the local community through children’s programming and reduced and/or free admission to underprivileged and handicapped adults, seniors and children.

 
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JEFFREY MELDON

dancing with Jessie Dominguez

Thank you for taking the time to learn more about me. I have been a Florida Trial Attorney since 1971 when I had my first jury trial in Gainesville, and I have been in and out of the courtroom ever since. As a Trial Attorney I enjoy helping people get their lives back together after a serious accident or an arrest. I consider myself an expert in negotiating settlements as well as trying cases in the courtroom. I have the determination and experience to go head to head with the big and powerful insurance companies that try to take advantage of people who were injured through no fault of their own. I always fight hard to get every one of my clients the justice they deserve. I was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, came to Gainesville in 1970 after graduating law school at Case-Western Reserve University, passed the Florida Bar, and opened my practice in downtown Gainesville in 1971. After 50 years, I still enjoy going to work, getting to know and help my clients that come to my office from all over Florida, working with our amazing staff, and fighting for the rights of individuals and for the justice they are entitled to.  Throughout my years in Gainesville, I have enjoyed giving back to the community through numerous community service activities. My recent public service contributions include my three Consumer Guide Books. I am very proud of these books which are a culmination of my 50 years of legal experience and insights. It is my intention that these books help the people of Florida from making mistakes that can negatively affect their lives for many years.

 
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MATT
URBAN

dancing with Marilyn Deiorio

Matt Urban is a Gainesville resident, who graduated from UF and now works as a Senior Digital Marketing Manager for local Small to Medium Businesses. He and his lovely wife of 16 years, Christy Urban, also own and manage a Beach Vacation Rental Business on Anna Maria Island, Florida.  Matt and Christy have 2 children, Brock (10) and Charlotte (7).  When not working on a full renovation of their new home, Shuttling kids to different functions, coaching Gatorball, working with clients and vacation guests, or a nice evening out with his wife and friends, Matt also enjoys being a member of the Gainesville Quarterback Club and cheering on his Alma Mater in any and all athletic events. Go Gators!