September 18, 2018 | Greenwich Sentinel

The Fred Astaire Dance Studio of Greenwich is hosting the first annual Dancing Stars of Greenwich Gala at 7 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 22, at Tamarack Country Club in Greenwich. Proceeds from the dance competition with donations to the dance teams and a live and silent auction, will go directly to Abilis to support its programs for families with special needs. The event is open to the public and tickets to the Gala event are $250 and available online at, or by calling 203-340-2760. The event will feature a star-studded celebrity dance competition with Fred Astaire instructors and dancers from the community. Dancers include:

Afton Fraser — Afton is a former actress best known for her film and television roles in Reality Bites, George of the Jungle and Fried Green Tomatoes. She was previously married to actor Brendan Fraser and the two share three sons. Afton developed a love for classic movies at a young age, which led to the publication of her first book, Hollywood Picks the Classics. Her second book, Point to Happy, was a collaboration with her mother and sister for children on the autism spectrum. Afton lives in Greenwich, Connecticut, with her three sons, Griffin, Holden and Leland. Her son Griffin has autism. Afton hopes to channel her inner Ginger Rogers to raise money for Abilis, a cause close to her heart. 

Rita Mirella Lurito — Rita rediscovered her passion for dance after her career in banking and parenting. A 20 year Greenwich resident, she dances rhythm ballroom, hip-hop, salsa and jazz while enjoying golf and travel with her husband and adult sons. Rita is a former Abilis Board member and with her family, has supported Abilis’ important mission for more than 15 years. She is delighted to combine her love of dance and her support for Abilis at this exciting event.

Lisa Colpit  — Lisa lives in Old Greenwich with her husband and her daughter, who also dances at Fred Astaire and inspired her to start taking lessons. She is a physician and associate dean for Faculty Development at the Frank H. Netter MD School of Medicine at Quinnipiac University.

Lillian Sibrizzi – Lillian resides in Westchester County and works at Sprague Energy. During a period in her life that was challenging, Lillian turned to dancing, which had always brought laughter into her life — dating back from when she would stand on her grandmother’s feet as a child as they danced and watched Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly movies. Following that tradition, Lillian’s three-year old grandson Marco now stands on her feet to cha-cha one-two-three! In addition to dancing, Lillian creates and decorates custom celebration cakes on special occasions for family. Her pride and joy are her daughters, Jessica and Michelle, son in law Brian and grandsons Marco and Luca. Volunteering her time and energy to benefit the lives of others is her way of giving back the joy and uplifting spirit dancing has given her during difficult times.

Lenna Andreou — Lenna is Originally from Canada. Five years ago she moved from New York to Greenwich. She has been married for 20+ years and has two wonderful children ages 17 and 14, and a miniature schnauzer. She is the president of the Greenwich Newcomers Club. She spends her time as a volunteer for a social club with a conscience Greenwich Newcomers and also donates time and resources to Kids in Crisis, Inspirica, Neighbor to Neighbor, Junior League and Abilis. In the past she has been active in the Greenwich Public Schools PTA- Riverside Elementary, Eastern Middle School and Greenwich High School and Greenwich Crew. Lenna is currently an associate partner and real estate professional with Keller Williams Prestige Properties. She is so excited to be involved in this wonderful cause for Abilis.

Maria Wilson and Ralph Penny will also be dancing.

“The event is full of all the fun, glitz and glamour of the hit TV show Dancing with the Stars! noted Elmar Schmidt, owner and ballroom dance instructor of the Fred Astaire Dance Studio of Greenwich. “Local stars and leaders in the community have been training to compete just like on television. And, just like on the hit TV show, a panel of celebrity judges along with the audience will select the winner who will win the coveted mirror ball trophy.”