RIDE Foundation (Robyn & Italo Dance Events), formed by Pro-Am ballroom dance partners, Robyn Shreiber and Italo Elgueta, has announced that its inaugural gala, DANCE FOR AFRICA, will benefit the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF).

RIDE was established in 2016 to create one-of-a-kind dance events for difference-making charities, encompassing humane and ecological causes and featuring the talents of compassionate stars of the dance world. The inaugural gala will be held at 6PM, July 23 at L.A.’s Boulevard3 with a program featuring top dance, vocal and artistic performances.

Headliners will include Dancing with the Stars’ Karina Smirnoff, indie music duo Alexander Jean Feat. Mark Ballas and BC Jean, Step Up’s Briana Evigan, artist Brian Olsen and vocalist Trenyce Cobbins. Shreiber and Elgueta, renowned in the world of ballroom dance and competition, formed the RIDE Foundation (Robyn & Italo Dance Events) to “create events in which dancers can use their passionate art to impact and support the wonderful charities addressing the world’s needs.”

“We are excited to launch our non-profit organization with a gala benefitting African Wildlife Foundation, a non-profit so close to our hearts,” say Robyn and Italo in a joint statement. “Our goal in forming RIDE was to combine our love for ballroom dance with our passion for making the world a better place. We are both extremely impressed with and strongly support the work of AWF, and are honored to make the organization the beneficiary of our inaugural gala,” they add.

“We are thrilled that RIDE chose AWF for their inaugural event,” says Craig Sholley, AWF’s Senior Vice President. “AWF’s mission is to ensure that wildlife and wild lands thrive in a modern Africa. As a result of a recent AWF safari experience, Robyn Shreiber’s passion for Africa and AWF’s work has blossomed. We are delighted that Dance for Africa will bring a combination of wonderful exposure to our cause and critical financial support for our important conservation efforts.”

The inaugural event will feature a spectacular African-inspired live ballroom dance show produced by Italo, with Dancing with the Stars’ superstar Karina Smirnoff, a Season 13 Mirror Ball Champion, debuting a new solo performance she choreographed in honor of “Dance for Africa.” The Ukrainian beauty will also perform a passionate trio number with Professional World Finalist Justinas Duknauskas and Top Amateur Austin Joson. Karina, a five-time U.S. National Champion, is a strong advocate for environmental and wildlife causes.

Indie Duo Alexander Jean feat. Mark Ballas and BC Jean, and Trenyce Cobbins are the event’s special musical performers. Alexander Jean’s debut EP titled “Head High,” released in 2016, debuted at #1 on iTunes’ Singer/Songwriter chart, and their power-pop ballad and debut single “Roses and Violets,” also hit #1 on the iTunes singer/songwriter chart and #6 on the iTunes overall chart. The duo’s next album is scheduled for release this summer.

Vocalist, Actress and Dancer Trenyce Cobbins, will perform three songs written by an African artist. Cobbins, an “American Idol” Top 5 finalist, has become a darling of the theater world, headlining top Broadway musicals and plays, including “Dreamgirls,” and “The Vagina Monologues.”

Brian Olsen, whose Art in Action has been making waves around the world for his “rock n’ roll” style of painting on canvas, an explosive and colorful show choreographed to music with audience participation, will open the evening by painting three art pieces in honor of the inaugural gala.

Briana Evigan, an AWF Ambassador, will serve as the gala’s emcee. Briana made her major feature debut as the star of the box office hit Step Up 2: The Streets in 2008 and reprised her role in the 2014 installment of the franchise, Step Up: All In.

The Africa-themed gala event will feature cuisine, cocktails and d├ęcor native to the exotic continent. The evening will also include two raffle winners to an African Safari in Tanzania, as well as a silent auction with one-of-a-kind items.

For more info and tickets, click here.

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