Bringing People Together Through Dance 

If you have not attended the popular Virtual Dance – LaBlast, you should sign up right now! High energy Robert Wallop, a 26-year-old from Annapolis, Maryland, shares his love for dance and passion to perform as our Dance – LaBlast program leader (for both GiGi’s Virtual Playhouse and GiGi’s Playhouse Annapolis since 2021). As a certified LaBlast® Fitness instructor, Robert gets us moving in this fitness program based on the ballroom dances you see on Dancing with the Stars.  

Robert, who has Down syndrome, has been dancing and entertaining since the age of 8. After years of determination, commitment, and practice, he is now a decorated dancer including being a two-time gold medal Special Olympics World DanceSport Champion (watch the video!!) and a two-time bronze Pro/Am Rhythm and Smooth USA Dance National Champion. In 2017, he was a contestant on Season 16 of “So You Think You Can Dance”! 

Robert uses his talents to support not only GiGi’s but also serves as an Ambassador for Special Olympics USA DanceSport. As a competitor, instructor, and performer, Robert travels and interacts with people around the world. In a previous interview Robert shared, “I know that I can help bring people together through dance,” Robert says. “I want to make the world a better place through dance.” 

Robert’s family shares, “Volunteering for GiGi’s has been so rewarding. It is amazing to see participants led by one of their peers and a joyful experience to witness the freedom of expression through dance during these classes by Robert and the participants that are both physically and emotionally engaged.”   

When he is not dancing, Robert loves singing, spending time with his family and dogs, going to movies and eating steak and potatoes. He works at the Annapolis Town Center in the Santa Photography Shop and the La Marmotta Gelato Cart. Robert aspires to continue his fitness leadership with GiGi’s national and global community through the Virtual Playhouse and wants to create on-demand program videos and classes that students can access around their personal schedules. 

We are so thankful for Robert’s volunteer service and sharing his talents with the GiGi’s community! We cannot wait to see what the future holds for Robert. 


Empowering Abilities – James’ New Job!

James’ passion for cooking blossomed when his family relocated from Florida to Georgia, and he started attending the Virtual GiGi’s Kitchen Adult program. In Virtual GiGi’s Kitchen, James learned kitchen safety and food preparation skills while increasing his self-confidence and social skills with his peers. Reflecting on his experiences with GiGi’s Kitchen, James shared, “I…


Participants Supporting Participants 

The End of a Session Celebration is a big deal around GiGi’s Playhouse! It’s a time to celebrate achievements and Best of Alls of not only our participants but also tutors and program leaders enrolled in our GiGiFIT, GiGi’s Kitchen, and one-on-one literacy or math tutoring programs. But, for the Virtual Playhouse, there was a…


Heather’s Hawaii 5-0 Team

Shari, Heather’s mom, shares their “why” for participating in The GiGiFIT Acceptance Challenge (GFAC) 2023 – Virtual Movement. “We love the GFAC – Virtual Movement!  It is an amazing opportunity to raise awareness, feel the love and support of our family and friends AND get moving.   There are so many ways to participate, but…


  1. marie charles on July 9, 2023 at 7:08 pm

    Would love for this to be available at the Playhouse! Looks like a lot of fun!

    • jbyrnes on July 10, 2023 at 5:32 am

      Hi Marie! Robert and Dance – LaBlast are amazing and fun! What local playhouse is closest to you? Robert teaches this class in-person at GiGi’s Playhouse Annapolis. We invite you to join us virtually. We’d love to see you. You can register on the Virtual Playhouse calendar or on your local playhouses’ calendar. The class is held weekly on Wednesdays.

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