R.I.D.E. & The African Wildlife Foundation

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R.I.D.E. & The African Wildlife Foundation

What an incredible evening! And just the first of many more to come from Robyn & Italo Dance Events! - A Nonprofit Charity Organization.

A philanthropic endeavor combined with passionate, talented dancers. “Our goal at RIDE is to raise money for effective charities through our love of dance!”

It was a warm drive up from San Diego to downtown Los Angeles, the home of movie stars, singers and celebrities galore. I entered a very nondescript building on Sunset Blvd., but that is where the secret of where I was going ended!

Upon entering, the red carpet was kept very busy with many familiar and beautiful people! Hugs and handshakes were plenty by the Ballroom elite, Hollywood beauties, and generous philanthropists. I checked in and was informed that I was sitting at “Elephant 6”, but I didn't need my table, I needed libations!! So I quickly went on the hunt for a cool beverage and munchies! There was champagne & cocktails overflowing, delicious hors d'oeuvres offered by a myriad of safari guides. I found the largest shrimp cocktail ever and a glass of wine to soothe this savage beast and now on to socialize.

The entrance was so packed with the who's who, that I sought out a quieter spot to chat. I wound up going into another room that was filled with wonderful items up for the silent auction. After placing my name down on a couple of items, I continued my way into yet another room, which just so happened to be the main room – yeah!! It was gorgeous!

The decor was simple yet so very elegant. The center bar became “the” hangout spot! With the stage hovering above it. I got the chance to hang out for a brief moment with Leonid Burlo, Max Sinitsa, Tatiana, Josie Howser, Eugene Katsevman, Louis Bar, Samantha Swart, Lauren LaPointe, Scott & Lynn Magnesen and so many more, and it was so wonderful to not have to tell someone “you're on next”

The lovely emcee of the evening, Briana Evigan entered the stage and introduced the first act to perform, artist, Brian Olsen who came on out and threw paint everywhere!! His finished artwork was stunning! Nelson Mandela, an elephant and a majestic lion were just 3 of the pieces of art that magically appeared from paint splatter and an Edward Scissor hands approach to painting! They went up for auction and were immediately seized up!! I was just hoping for the bartenders sake that it was all water soluble Super great energy from this guy!

Soon after Robyn Shreiber & Italo Elgueta greeted their guests and gave enlightened speeches on how this evening came to be. This is a passion very dear to Robyn, she sits on the AWF Council, and is a generous supporter of the continued survival of Africa's wildlife and wild lands! Robyn introduced Jeff Chrisfield a spokesman for the African Wildlife Foundation. He gave a very moving speech on the ravages and atrocities happening in his country. It was extremely moving and I encourage everyone to check out their website, make a donation, or enlighten others as to what's happening to our world!

The lights lowered further and the music grew in volume as the dancers hit the floor. Italo did an awesome job of producing this show! A number of local area professional Latin competitors as well as notable's Karina Smirnoff & Justinas Duknauskas, and Nino Dzneladze & Austin Joson put on African inspired dance show. The dance numbers were interspersed with the beautiful voice of singer Trenyce Cobbins. It was then time to regroup, chat, get another glass of champagne, dance a little and then settle in for the grand finale'! How exciting to see and hear the amazing voice of Alexander Jean accompanied by her very talented guitar playing husband, Mark Ballas.

As I wound my way back out to the main entrance and cast a fair amount of hugs and well wishes goodnight, the Safari guides were once upon us with parting Gift Bags! Wine, t-shirt, stuffed lion, books and more. I was so very honored to have attended this gala and look forward to another R.I.D.E. Event! Congratulations Robyn & Italo on producing such a wonderful charitable event and shedding light on a very serious cause!!


  • Report by:: Yolanda Vargas
  • Photos by:: John McCarthy

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