Mad Hot Ballroom

Local celebs take to dance floor for good cause

Mad Hot Ballroom Gala, Southwest Louisiana’s version of the hit TV series “Dancing With the Stars” is set for 6 p.m.-12:30 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 4, at L’Auberge Casino Resort.

The event — in its ninth year — pairs eight local “celebrities” with local professional dancers. The couples compete for the coveted Mirrorball Trophy that is awarded by a panel of seven judges that have experience in dance competitions.

All proceeds benefit The Whistle Stop, a local nonprofit for at-risk youths. The Dancing Classrooms and DanceSport programs teach dance and life skills to elementary, middle and high school students.

Leah Bossano, gala chairperson, said all tables are filled for the event, with an expected audience of roughly 700 people. She said the local celebrities are known for giving back to the community.

Preparing for the competition is “a lot of work,” with dance couples training for nine months, Bossano said. They also help raise money for the event and promote it.

The couple with the most online votes and votes from the audience will win the People’s Choice Award. To vote online, visit whistlestopkids.com. Each vote is $10 or more, and there is an unlimited amount of votes.

Performing couples: Missy Amidon and Daniel Gonzalez; Sonya Brooks and Marcus Bebee; Chad Crain and Lauren Morris; James Havard and Amanda Yellott; Gigi Kuehn and Robert Miller; Shannon LaFargue and Emily Porché; Shonda Manuel and Reginald Larkins; and John Ware and Gambrelle DiGiglia.

The gala will also have its first “Red Hot Carpet” list of the best-dressed people at the event. Bossano said five people with a knowledge of fashion will be planted in the audience to decide who is chosen.  

Black-tie attire is preferred.

Online: celebritydancingswla.com.

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The Mad Hot Ballroom Gala event pairs eight local “celebrities” with local professional dancers.