“Dancing with the Desert Stars” returns Friday, November 22

An uplifting experience, benefiting 100 Women at Desert AIDS Project, at the Renaissance Palm Springs

PALM SPRINGS, CA, September 12, 2013 – Those competing to succeed local TV reporter/anchor Bianca Rae as the 2013 Dancing Desert Star will be showing their best moves on an elevated dance floor this year, to improve the view for all audience members. Once again, all of the action will take place at the Renaissance Hotel Palm Springs on Tahquitz Canyon on Friday, November 22.

”The judges recognized how high Bianca set the bar last year. She was graceful yet athletic with both her compulsory and chosen dances,” said Dave Morgan, president of Reaction Productions, who created the fundraising event for Desert AIDS Project in 2011. “But then, Ron Duran was a pretty exciting act to follow from our first year in 2011. Who knows – maybe someone will beat both of their performances this year.” Last year’s “Fan Favorite” – chosen by audience donations – was Margie Taft but it’s anybody’s guess right now who will delight the judges or the audience. 

Eight competitors – four women and four men – will each dance twice with their respective professional dance partners. This year’s women include Heather Coladonato, president and CEO of the Desert Hot Springs Chamber of Commerce; Jan Harnik, mayor of Palm Desert; Katharine Johnson, president of the Palm Springs Fireman’s Association; and Valerie A. Powers Smith, of counsel at Slovak Baron Empey Murphy & Pinkney, LLP in Palm Springs. The 2013 male competitors are Dr. Frederick Eko, of the Plastic Surgery Institute in Rancho Mirage; Tony Marchese, co-owner of Trio Restaurant and The Purple Room in Palm Springs;Assemblymember V. Manuel Pérez, California’s 56th District; and Ernie Santora, president of 1st Community Insurance Services in Palm Springs. 

“I’m sure this year’s eight competitors are going to have as much fun as I did last year – all while raising essential funds for us to help women and children affected by HIV or AIDS,” said Terri Ketover, chair of the 100 Women annual giving program at Desert AIDS Project. “In addition to helping provide essential healthcare services to our clients as we do on a year-round basis, the 100 Women program has recently provided back-to-school supplies and uniforms for 126 disadvantaged children of D.A.P. clients right here in our community. At year-end, we’ll also be helping to provide family meals and gift cards to these families to make the holidays a bit brighter. This event is such a tremendous help in making this kind of work possible.”

Cheering sections are already lining up to support the competitor they are sure will dance away with the mirrored ball trophy. Make sure to join the fun at the Renaissance Palm Springs, beginning with cocktails at6:00 PM while your favorite warms-up for the competition at 7:30.Front-row tickets are available for $175 – or $1,750 for a table of ten. Premium tickets/tables are available for $125/$1,250 and Preferred at $75/$750. General admission seating is $50/$500. You can purchase tickets online at or by calling JP Allen at 760-969-5743

100 Women meets the needs of women and children whose lives are affected by HIV or AIDS. They do this by funding gynecological services like pap smears, underwriting mammograms, and helping ensure healthcare accessibility. Desert AIDS Project serves people living with HIV and AIDS by providing comprehensive support, including medical care, case management, and social services, like food, housing, and counseling. D.A.P. also offers free and confidential HIV testing at a number of locations throughout the communities it serves. To learn more about Desert AIDS Project, please call 760-323-2118 , visit or find them on Facebook, Twitter, and You Tube.

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