Dancing for Black History Month

Dance studios have historically served local communities in many ways beyond learning to dance and making new friends.

Ballroom dancing is terrific recreation, an ideal way to stay in shape and meet new people who want to have more fun in their lives. All this takes place everyday in ballroom dance studios around the world. But studios have historically served local communities in many ways beyond learning to dance and making new friends.

Professionally managed dance studios create an inviting meeting place. They can offer a welcome escape from the stress of daily work or hectic lifestyles. While ballrooms offer the opportunity to dance, they also provide a place for dancers to relax, socialize and sometimes discuss community needs or causes with each other or with their teachers and studio managers.

For example, our studio mission statement is clear about community involvement: "Cheryl Burke Dance studios will participate in local community and civic activities...Support nonprofit events and work for the greater good when needs arise through fundraisers, appearances, donations of services or admissions to classes, workshops or events..."

Our studios periodically arrange events to support nonprofit causes and organizations. Cheryl Burke Dance has organized fundraisers for Japan Relief efforts, Philippine flood victims, and dance instruction in public high schools. Each year dance instructors from our studios—along with many others throughout the country—volunteer countless performance hours for medical centers, nonprofit programs and civic events.

When our Mountain View managers suggested Black History Month, we talked about how to best recognize it. We knew that much of today's popular music (including the "Great American Songbook") and numerous up-tempo dance styles can be traced to influential black musicians and performers during the early 20th Century.

So this is what we came up with: "Dance with Cheryl for Black History Month" a fundraising gala this Friday, Feb. 17, with net proceeds going to the NAACP student scholarship program. You can view an inspiring YouTube video about the student program here.

A first for our studios, the event features a live dance band, the Starduster Sextet, and top Bay Area vocalist Noah Griffin. Noah is also a widely respected African American historian, journalist and emcee. Auction items will include dance lessons with me and VIP tickets to see "Dancing with the Stars" live at ABC studios in Hollywood.

This Friday night in Mountain View our doors will open at 6 p.m. for wine and appetizers. Beginning and intermediate classes by our instructors are scheduled from 7:15 - 9 p.m. Dancing to the band and Noah is set for the Main Ballroom from 9 p.m. to about midnight. We close out the evening with recorded music until 1 a.m.

In honor of Black History Month, this is a Black Tie Optional night. Admission is $45 per person in advance and $55 at the door. Advance tickets are available at Eventbrite or by phoning the studio: 650-864-9150.

Our generous sponsors include La Cucina di Venti Restaurant, Corte Riva Vineyards, Pegasus Insurance and State Farm Insurance.

I hope to see you on the dance floor!


Cheryl Burke Dance Mountain View

Cheryl Burke Dance Studios are located in two California locations: Mountain View and Laguna Niguel. For more information, see cherylburkedance.com and click on the studio "Contact Us" or Facebook pages.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Claudia Cruz February 16, 2012 at 07:42 PM
I remember in my dance history class learning about Norma Miller and Frankie Manning dancing the Lindy Hop at The Savoy in Harlem. It was revolutionary at the time with all the acrobatic moves. African rhythms and dance have influenced many forms of American dance for decades (swing, tap dance, salsa, hip hop and modern) indeed.


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