http://mv-voice.com/print/story/print/2011/01/14/mixing-it-up-with-salsa


Mountain View Voice

News - January 14, 2011

Mixing it up with salsa

by James Tensuan

Cheryl Burke's dance studio hosted a strange mix of guests on Monday, Jan 10. Teenagers, city council members, dancers and police were lingering along the mirrored walls of the newly expanded studio on Shoreline Boulevard, owned by Burke of "Dancing with the Stars" fame. This is The Dance Club Mountain View, a new offering of the Mountain View Police Activities League.

Roughly 30 teens excitedly learned to salsa dance from Burke.

"It was fun, I would come back and do it again," says Estrella Tejada of Crittenden Middle School. "I enjoyed it a lot."

"It's important to influence teens with something positive that their school doesn't offer or they can't afford," says Burke, who grew up in Atherton. Besides teaching dance moves, she performed at the fundraiser with several of her fellow cast members from the popular musical "Forever Tango."

The teens were all smiles as Soul Con Dance Company stepped in and assisted with teaching.

"This program allows us to bring our love of dance to share with the kids," says Corinne Leon of Soul Con Dance Company.

The dance company was one of several sponsors of the event, including WILD 94.9 radio station, Creation Technologies, The Cantankerous Fish and the Artisan Wine Depot.

Funds raised at the event will help support the program, which aims to expand PAL's reach to an audience that may not be interested in boxing or tennis. Participating youths will learn dances ranging from hip-hop to Latin and swing. Classes begin Thursday and will take place at the Mountain View Sports Pavilion on Castro Street.

Mountain View's PAL program was resurrected in 2006 by police Chief Scott Vermeer and is in full swing. The program offers a wide variety of activities and leadership opportunities for kids ages 5 to 18, including paintball, bike rides, and trips to San Jose Sharks games are some examples of the wide variety of opportunities offered by the organization. PAL membership costs $5 and for children 11 or older, includes access to The Dance Club.

When asked why MVPAL is now offering dance among their other programs, Officer James Guevarra says, "It's something different. It builds social skills, boosts confidence and self esteem while having fun."

—Bay Cities News contributed to this report

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