Tony Dovolani has traded in his ballroom shoes for a bowtie.
On Friday, the former Dancing with the Stars pro and Mirrorball Trophy winner slipped into the iconic cuffs and collars to make his official debut as a Chippendales celebrity guest host, marking the beginning of his six-week residency at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Dovolani, 44, is not only hosting the show, but also choreographed a Latin-infused number. According to a press release, during the number on opening night, Dovolani brought up fellow Vegas and Broadway star Ruby Lewis to join him and the Chippendales for a sexy salsa number.
“For my number I wanted everyone to feel like they are dancing in their seats,” Dovolani said in a statement. “In fact, it’s such an interactive show it’s almost like watching Dancing with the Stars, but you actually get to participate here.”
But the true highlight of the night was when Chippendales dance captain Ryan Kelsey and managing partner Kevin Denberg surprised Dovolani with a check for $5,000 in support of Dovolani’s foundation, whose mission is to raise funds to support families that are facing challenges, including financial strains that come with raising a child with special needs. (Dovolani, who has an autistic son, is also donating a portion of his salary to his foundation.)
“Vegas is a better place because of the Chippendales and all of the charitable work they do in the community,” Dovolani said. “Today they surprised me with an incredible check for $5,000 for my foundation. They have been so fantastic to me already, but the fact that they are supporting my mission and my cause — this brand is amazing in so many ways and for me they are truly my family now.”
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Dovolani joins the ranks of numerous celebrities who have served as guest hosts in previous years, including DWTS and America’s Next Top Model champion Nyle DiMarco, Tyson Beckford, Ian Ziering and Antonio Sabato Jr.
Dovolani’s Chippendales residency (Thursday through Sunday night performances only) runs through May 27.