The Eye Ball dazzles guests with a stunning dance show
All eyes were on Ming Wang, dapper in tails, as guests filed into the Renaissance Hotel and waited to have their photo taken with the eye doc at this year’s Eye Ball. The annual gala, held on a cool evening in late September, serves as the primary fundraiser for the Wang Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to providing sight restoration surgeries free of charge to individuals in need.
Sipping libations from the bar, guests posed for photos alongside Ming and his wife, JJ, chatted with one another and sampled delicious pre-dinner fare from a buffet of hors d’œuvres. For the seated dinner, guests enjoyed their choice of chicken creole or vegetarian lasagna, providing sustenance for the fun-filled night ahead.
As guests of previous Eye Balls can attest, there are always plenty of exciting and entertaining surprises in store and this year’s black-tie affair was no exception! Magician and comedian Kevin King performed an abbreviated version of his hilarious show much to the delight of attendees and paved the way for the main attraction: a Nashville version of Dancing with the Stars.
Given Ming’s history as a champion ballroom competitor and his passion for the art, it’s no surprise that dancing would play a prominent role in this year’s festivities. The ballroom dance show featured local personalities strutting their stuff for a packed house. Channel 4 sports anchor Rudy Kalis, Channel 5 news anchor Vicki Yates and Tennessee state congressman Glen Casada twirled across the floor with their professional dance partners—Juanita Simanekova, Jonathan Bungard and Jennifer Kirksmith, respectively—having a great time for a wonderful cause.
This year’s benefit brought in over $75,000 to assist the organization’s patients around the world, most notably Maria, a 13-year old orphan from Russia suffering from cataracts who is the focus of the Wang Foundation’s efforts for 2012. Thanks to the support of the Nashville community and events like the Eye Ball, the Wang Foundation continues to restore sight to the blind and provide a vision of hope for the future.
—Nancy Floyd, Photographs by Eric England