Saturday, October 1, 2022

2022 Boca Ballroom Battle Victories Aren’t Always About Dancing

You know you’ve met a Superwoman when even during her toughest moments, she rises. And that woman was Andrea Virgin, president of the Boca Raton Center for Arts and Innovation, and one of the eight dancers in this year’s Boca Ballroom Battle this past Saturday night. When it came time for her performance, Virgin revealed to the 800 people in the audience she had injured herself only hours before and would be unable to compete—after months of practice and preparation.

 “About 30 seconds in, coming out of a trick a little too far forward then normal, I felt the pop,” she says. “It was the same pop I experienced at the age of 16 when I overstretched a split. I knew in that very moment, I tore it again and that there was no chance of me getting back up to keep running the routine, much less perform that night. Everyone jumped into action, grabbing ice, calling for supplies and a doctor. And James [Brann], my partner, was hopeful that a few hours would go by and I might still be able to do it. But I knew, as much as I wanted to think that, that that wouldn’t happen”.

Jay Brandt and Sayra Vazquez; photo credit: Viviimage Photography

Virgin wasn’t the only one stunned. Fellow community dancers like Ryan Haines were, too. 

“Andrea is our glue,” Haines told me. “She’s the one we follow in the opening number. She gets us all on the right track from the start,” said Haines, a Marine Interdiction Agent with CBP Air and Marine Operations and owner of RKH Yachts.

Lynn Aronberg and Scott Lappin; photo credit: Viviimage Photography

While perfecting her dance routine over the summer, the former ballerina-turned- land-development-engineer had helped energize the whole Ballroom Battle crew. This year’s dynamic group included Virgin, Haines, Howard Kanner (Kanner & Pintaluga, P.A.), Tracey McCutchen Rossi (Marsh & McLennan of Florida), Erica Kasel (The Boca Raton), Jay Brandt (St. Jude Catholic Church & School), Paul Bonaros (Paradigm Wealth) and Lynn Aronberg (Lynn Aronberg Public Relations).

As for the main event, Virgin took to the stage with a gentle walk through the opening number and again during the time that was supposed to be her dance routine. At that moment, it seemed the room of nearly 1,000 people gave her one huge community hug.  Instead of her live dance, a practice video was edited, put to her music, and shown on the big screen.

Howard Kanner and Loreta Kriksciukaityte; photo credit: Viviimage Photography

Serving as co-emcee alongside WPBF 25 News Meteorologist Glenn Glazer, I asked Virgin what message she had for the audience. She simply replied, “When you are knocked down, you get back up. And the show must go on!”

Later, it was Andrea Virgin who took home the female trophy as she raised more than $190,000 for the George Snow Scholarship Fund. Howard Kanner earned the male trophy, raising nearly $110,000. 

Boca Ballroom Battle Winners Andrea Virgin and Howard Kanner; photo credit: Viviimage Photography

Boca’s Ballroom Battle 2022 raised a record-breaking $900,000 for the George Snow Scholarship Fund. Learn more at and mark your calendars for the George Snow Scholarship Fund’s next popular event, “The Rhinestone Cowboy Ball, Boots & Bling” on Saturday, February 11, 2023 at the Boca West Country Club. 

For more from Paige Kornblue, check out Today’s Paige the blog and Today’s Paige the podcast.

Paige Kornblue
Paige Kornblue is an award-winning journalist who founded Paige Kornblue Media and Today’s Paige – the blog and podcast highlighting everything from interesting people, fascinating places and the gems making our communities special. In addition to Boca Magazine, Paige is a TODAY Show Parenting Team Contributor. She has anchored and reported for top-rated television stations across the country including WPTV NBC NewsChannel 5 and WMUR ABC News 9. Paige has also worked at NBC Sports and Dateline NBC and provided live reports for CNN and The Weather Channel. PK is a proud Boca Raton native who grew up loving Boca Magazine and all that comes with the fabulous city of Boca Raton! You can often find her on stage assisting charities as event emcee, on the courts working to improve her tennis game and on momma time enjoying each moment with her three young kiddos!

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