Ballet And Tap Shoes
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Date Night, which is sponsored by the Los Gatos Lions Club, is also about supporting mental health and wellness programs at local schools, particularly the CASSY counseling program. CASSY began working at Los Gatos High School about five years ago. “A lot of money goes to CASSY because of this fundraiser,” Lion Dave Burt said. “We were able to extend the program to Fisher Middle School by working with principal Lisa Fraser, who told us her students need overall counseling support. Now we’ve expanded to help C.T. English Middle School.”.
Burt says the Lions hope to clear about $30,000 from Date Night, Tickets are $65 and can be purchased in advance at lglions.org, “We sell out every year, with anywhere from 350 to 400 people attending,” Burt said, Party-goers can dance to the sounds of blues, rock and jazz performed live by the Summit Boys, take part in live and silent auctions, or visit with friends underneath a 300-square-foot tent that covers much of the auto ballet and tap shoes dealership’s main parking lot, “SVHome is our platinum sponsor, so they’re paying for the cost of the tent,” Burt said, “We even have a comfort sponsor who pays for a high-end portable toilet.”..
Girls as young as 3 years old fan out their red, orange or yellow skirts, while boys stomp their feet to the beat of the music. In the center of it all, the group is led by Leticia Ceja, teacher of Mexican folk dance for 20 years and niece of Ramón Morones, co-founder of Los Lupeños de San Jose, a Mexican dance performance group founded 45 years ago. Ceja has taught all over the Bay Area at all levels and ages, but it wasn’t until she connected with Christy Tonge, program director of Reach Potential Movement, that the two saw the potential of starting a group in Sunnyvale.
The two met at Castro Elementary School in Mountain View, where Ceja taught Tonge’s children, The dance program at the school has been growing for seven years and served as the inspiration for the Sunnyvale group, The two women paired up with several interested parents who wanted to create something in Sunnyvale and had the opportunity to build at the Gateway Neighborhood Center, Just over two years ago, parents and volunteers came together with Ceja to develop the program, The class provides practice skirts, ballet and tap shoes or girls can bring their own, Both boys and girls are asked to wear dress shoes with heels to click along to the music..
It was only a month ago that the practice skirts were available to the class, after a year’s worth of fundraising. Before, students had to practice in their street clothes. While the class is still getting off the ground, Ceja hopes it will continue to expand. “I’ve been teaching for a long time, and I can really see a difference in their self-esteem,” Ceja said of her students. “Any kind of performance, I think, it really builds confidence, and it’s a really positive activity; it’s healthy and it really connects them with their culture because a lot of them are second generation and a lot of them lose their roots.
“Even though their parents are still Spanish speakers, half of them don’t speak the language really well or don’t know anything about their culture or have even been to Mexico, For me, ballet and tap shoes it’s a link.”, Ceja said she teaches traditional folk dances from several different regions of Mexico, but noted that Jalisco is the most popular, “And it happens to be where I’m from,” she said with a smile, Different regions feature variances in technique, including speed and tone of the dance..
While the local dance group celebrates Mexican heritage, students of all cultural backgrounds are welcome to join. Isabel Valdivias of Sunnyvale enrolled her son, Damian Sainz, 9, and daughter, Giselle Sainz, 7, over a year ago after learning about it through her children’s boxing class at the center. “Mexico is so far away, but they have this at least that they can take with them. It’s important to maintain that Mexican tradition,” Valdivias said. “It’s really emotional watching them perform. We go to the store, and everywhere we go, he’s dancing. They both really like it.”.
Giselle Sainz ran over to her mother during one practice in March to take off her pink boxing gloves before putting on her practice skirt, “My favorite part is the dresses,” Giselle said with a smile, “Also, we make a basket, and everybody likes it.”, After their routine warm-ups, the students get in a circle to perform different ballet and tap shoes kinds of dances, At one point, the boys and girls form an inner circle surrounded by an outer circle and interlock arms, forming a “basket” and weave in and out of each other..