Abbie Connelly

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Abbie Connelly was born and raised in Kansas City, Missouri. She graduated from O'Hara High School, received her undergraduate degree in Nursing at the University of Missouri-Columbia and her Master's degree in Nursing at KU. Abbie has put her nursing career on hold to focus on giving to others. She is active with various nonprofits and is a board member for the Bright Future's Fund. She is extremely proud to represent Noah's Bandage Project while dancing for the BMA Foundation. As the youngest of 5 girls, Abbie has been unsuccessfully trying to impress her sisters with her dancing for most of her life. Known for her "less than stellar" dance moves, she has decided to try her hand at ballroom dancing to see if that's her true calling! She is counting on biased support from her son Dillon and her husband Bruce and looks forward to helping the BMA Foundation reach their goals.

Abbie will be dancing with Gil Maldonado.

Gil Maldonado

Gil has a passion for dancing. He began dancing as a young child when his mother taught him Salsa and Merengue. The dancing bug never left him and at 22 years of age he became an instructor after studying with professionals in Kansas City. He was immediately headlined as a Latin Specialist. Over the years he has broaden his expertise. The dance he most enjoys is the West Coast Swing. He can be creative and playful with this dance. He competes nationally and locally. Because of his experience Gil excels at making his students feel comfortable, positive and happy while they are learning. His love and knowledge of all dance is evident if you spend any time at all with him.

Born in Puerto Rico, Gil then moved to several states until he landed in Harrisonville, Missouri at the age of 13. He is one of four boys all raised by a strong and determined mother and grandmother. Gil played football, basketball, soccer, and ran track. His athleticism is obvious in his dancing. He is 34 years old and father to Mason, 13, and Carmen, 5. They mean the world to him and they are his greatest accomplishment. Dancing for Gil is part of everything he does. It relaxes him, helps him cope, decreases his stress and anxiety and most importantly it defines him. Gil brings this emotion and enthusiasm to his students.

Gil believes in giving back to his community and does so by participating in charity dance events and by helping others in need throughout the community.

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