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Home Music Tejano / RegMex Dance Therapy: music, medicine, good times
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A full raucous house greeted the Paul Elizondo Orchestra when it kicked off the gala Dance Therapy 7th Anniversary Gala Fundraiser Saturday night at the Coronado Ballroom at the Tropicano RiverWalk Hotel.

The scene was colroful, the mood upbeat, the music fantastic, The occasion was the Dance Therapy's fundraiser.  The aim was to celebrate the group's successful program

that merges music and dance as therapy for those with depression.
 

Dance Therapy is a non-profit organization that teaches Latin ballroom dancing and all ages are welcome.

According to Jorge Alonso Perez, Dance Therapy's philosophy is that through the beauty and inspiration of dance, people can help overcome the sense of debilitating dread that weakens self-assurance and self-confidence. The group is supported by city's Department of Community Initiatives, and provides services to more than 1,600 seniors.

Meanwhile, on stage the Elizondo Orchestra was red-hot pouring through classics like Perez Prado's "Mambo No. 5" and "Mambo No. 8." Elizondo took the microphone on the elegant "At Last," an evergreen by Etta James. His orchestra then ran through "Unchained Melody," "La Charanga," "Honky Tonk," "Just a Gigolo," "A Mover el Bote," and "In the Mood."

Elizondo, a Premios a La Musica hall of famer, led his nine-piece band through an entire set of oldiies-but-goodies. Elizondo's tight group included award-winning horn player Al Gomez. The ballroom was full with elegantly attired dancers twirling across the dance floor. Officials expected a good night in fundraising efforts. Dozens of supporters looked over various tables of prizes that were to be sold in auctions.

Celebriites included Mayor Julian Castro and former Mayor Ed Garza, State Rep. Joaquin Castro, and Edith McAllister, the former first lady of San Antonio. Castro has repeatedly stated that he supports the dance therapy group and their healing services. Castro and Garza jointly announced that the Dance Therapy evening was a challenge to raise funds and increase awareness for the center's services.

Sonny Melendrez was master of ceremonies
Dance Therapy was formed in 2003 by Jorge Alonso Perez as “Dance Therapy” Dance Your Depression Away! Inc. not only to bring people to dance, but also reach out and touches each other’s spirits. From the beginning, Dance Therapy has been a multi-cultural and inter-generational program. The Latin ballroom dance lessons integrate stress relief, building confidence and self-esteem, promotes healthy choices in life, spiritual strengthening and healing.
Perez said dance participation has also increased student’s school attendance.
In 2007 Making Connections – San Antonio funded the first Elementary School project. This new collaborative initiative was highly successful in not only teaching young children Latin ballroom dancing but also in engaging school staff and parents in supporting the dance competition activities amongst these schools.
 

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