Dancing With the Detroit Stars Contestant, Rami Essak, Is In It To Win It
By his own admission, Rami Essak isn’t short on confidence. That’s probably helpful for a guy who oversees a growing network of cosmetic dental practices, with plans to expand internationally.
“I’m a go big or go home kind of guy,” Essak says. “Some people just say it, but I really go for it.”
He’ll need that confidence when he takes to the ballroom floor Saturday, Nov. 16 as a contestant in Dancing with the Detroit Stars at the Townsend Hotel in Birmingham.
Essak, 30, is the founder of Farmington Hills Family Dentistry and Troy Smiles, both opened since his return to Michigan nearly three years ago. A third location is planned to open soon in Livonia, and Essak has designs on locations in Los Angeles, Montreal and Dubai.
Now living in Keego Harbor, Essak originally hails from Cairo, Egypt. He came to the United States with his parents to flee religious persecution when he was just 5 years old.
His family arrived with nothing, he says. His father was a mechanical engineer. His mother, who speaks five languages, works for a software developer.
Essak graduated from Sterling Heights Stevenson High School and earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Detroit-Mercy. He attended dental school at Temple University in Philadelphia and did a dual implant and cosmetic residency at the VA Hospital of Pittsburgh and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. He then moved to L.A., but returned home when his mother got sick.
It was at a party where he ran into fellow DWDS contestant Jennifer Granger, whom he had previously met at another social charity gathering. She asked whether he’d be interested in donning dancing shoes to help raise money for Lighthouse, and he said, “yes.”
Has he ever done anything like this before?
“Oh hell no. Don’t get me wrong. I have rhythm and I can dance,” he says. “But, doing this in front of a crowd for competition is another thing. It’s been fun, but it’s definitely more challenging and the choreography is way more challenging than you would think.”
Essak describes himself as “super OCD” in his professional life as a cosmetic dentist and business owner. Taking dancing lessons from an instructor flips that script.
“I’m in her world now. I have to learn to let go and trust her,” he says.
Essak will be dancing to the ‘90s hit “Livin’ La Vida Loca” by Ricky Martin, in a style that he describes as an upbeat mash-up of salsa, hip-hop and dance moves from the song’s official music video itself.
“Honestly, dancing with somebody is one of the more challenging things I’ve done,” he said. “It’s one of those things where you don’t realize how hard it is until you have to do it.”
But, he adds, “I’m a pretty confident guy, I’m not gonna lie. I think we’re gonna end up winning.”
Join us at Dancing With the Detroit Stars Nov. 16 at the Townsend Hotel in Birmingham. For tickets and more information, visit https://my.lighthousemi.org/dancing.