Dance workout event funds club $2000

Fundraiser garners money for college tour

Denis Perez / The Advocate
Aerobics dance instructor Nancy Castillo guides roughly 100 dancers through a choreographed workout during the Puente Club’s Dance-A-Thon fundraiser in the Gym on Saturday. All of the donations will be used to cover college tour expenses for the club.

By Gabriel Quiroz, Staff Writer

A Dance-A-Thon, which raised $2,000, was held in the Contra Costa College Gymnasium on Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon.

The event helped raise funds to go toward the Puente Club’s annual college tour that visits campuses in Southern California.

Over a hundred participants attended the event with the majority of them being women who showed up ready to dance and support Puente.

The Dance-A-Thon started with some hiccups as the DJ for the event didn’t show up, but was quickly replaced by a phone an auxiliary cord and a powerful speaker.

This didn’t cause much of an issue for the instructors or the dancers as after the music problem was solved and as the first song came on, the room was filled with energy.

The instructors, as well as members of the Puente Club or Puentistas, led participants into the first dance of the day with huge amounts of enthusiasm and spirit.

One of the liveliest was president of the Puente Club and dance instructor Kike Duarte as he charged out into the middle of all the participants with his fellow instructors and Puentistas.

They all stood in the middle of the Gym with 50 or so participants on both sides eager to have a fun-filled morning of dancing.

The energy could be felt from everyone as participants flawlessly executed the moves instructed to them almost instinctively like when you see a flock of birds flying in sync beneath the clouds.

Song after song, the Dance-A-Thon continued with small breaks. But the party always returned with a high energy feeling and enthusiastic dancers that never seemed to slow down.

One of the participants, Carla Aguilera, said she found out about the event through one of the instructors and had nephews in the Puente program.

“I saw how it helped them and the community, so I wanted to participate,” Aguilera said.

The instructors interchanged leading each song as well as the Puentistas to support them as the event continued.

Puentista Jimena Avila who has been a dancer for five years, doing Hip Hop and Mexican style dance, could often be seen going back and forth to support the dance instructors.

All of the Puentistas had planned a dance performance well in advance of the event with regular practices last semester.

Puente Club member Katherine Delgado is a Spanish major in her second semester. As a Puentista, she helped with concessions at the event and served as greeter at the front door until the event started.  She also supported the instructors.

Delgado and Avila both had roles in the performance put on by the Puente Club a little more than halfway through the Dance-A-Thon.

The routine gave participants a break but also amazed them with a fun and provocative performance.

The event carried participants through different genres of music as well as different dance styles and even some boxing moves.

Most of the instructors collaborated previously and had experience putting on charitable events such as 5K  and other dance events.

All six of the instructors had their own styles but many of them kept a similar pace.

One instructor seemed to make sure everyone was upbeat and knew that they were part of the group.

Nancy Castillo, a previous student of Duarte and now an instructor herself, said Duarte motivated her to become an instructor.

Castillo was particularly lively during the event. She could be seen teaching as well as going around to the participants dancing in sync with individuals and smiling.

It was as if to let them know they were part of something special. The event concluded with a speech given by Duarte about the importance of helping the students in need.

They also thanked Puente Counselor Norma Valdez-Jimenez, all those that participated and his fellow instructors. All the Puentistas current and previous that showed up to support and staff that made it possible for Puente to use the gym were also acknowledged.

Duarte has been a dance instructor for over eight years and this is his second semester being Puente Club president after being voted in last spring.

The Puente Club will be going to UCLA, USC and UC Riverside for the college tour this year.