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Chapter #5017 of
USA Dance , Inc.
El Paso - Las Cruces - West TX - Southern NM
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quality of ballroom dancing in the United States."   

We are not instructors, but instead we extend a hand to all who
wish to learn and enjoy waltz, tango, rumba, salsa, swing,...
with their dance-floor partner.
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By Ramón Rentería / El Paso Times
POSTED:   09/19/2013 12:00:00 AM MDT

Reporter  Ramón Rentería

Diana Duron swirls around the dance floor as if she were a princess in a storybook. "I dance because I love
it," said Duron, a clinical social worker who lives in East El Paso. "It's become a passion for me."
As social events coordinator for the USA Desert Dancers No. 5017, Duron is busy these days promoting
ballroom dancing.
She is helping the 100 plus member El Paso-Las Cruces organization raise money and telling everyone about
the virtues of ballroom dancing.
"Ballroom dancing is a beautiful art but also wonderful for health and fitness," Duron said recently just before
rehearsals at Dance Academy on the West Side. "As I'm getting older, dancing is wonderful for cardiovascular
health, the bones and memory."
Duron used to watch national ballroom dancing competitions on television years ago.
"I always had a vision that one day maybe I would dance," she said. "I finally had the guts to walk into a
studio and I was hooked."
USA Desert Dancers will celebrate next week's National Ballroom Dance Week with a dinner and dance from 5
to 8 p.m. Sunday at Little Bit of Texas, 5500 Doniphan.
"We're trying to give more adults and youth the opportunity to dance," Duron said. "With more members, we
can get more funding for dancing camps and workshops."
The fundraising event also will help fund scholarships for dance students.
"Ballroom dancing, sometimes referred to as social dancing or partner dancing, has grown over the past years
due in part to the television show 'Dancing with the Stars,'" said Debra Knapp, director of the dance program
at New Mexico State University.
NMSU has offered a dance degree since 1998. Students can study ballet, modern and jazz dance styles, focus
on ballroom dance or study flamenco and classical Spanish dance.
"Many universities offer dance degrees but very few offer such a wide variety of dance study such as ours,"
Knapp said.
USA Dance, a nonprofit organization with 175 chapters nationwide, says dancing with a partner in harmony
and with good music helps adults and youth develop a more positive outlook in life. The organization also
says dancing helps people enhance their social skills and improve their physical and mental stamina.
Patti Fernandez, a certified public accountant in Juárez, started ballroom dancing in 1996 at Fort Bliss.
"I simply love music and dancing," Fernandez said.
Dr. Oscar Perez, an El Paso psychiatrist, enjoys ballroom dancing because it helps relieve stress.
"It's a good way to build up your stamina, sense of well-being and accomplishment," he said.
Soraya Garcia, 13, a West Side eighth-grader, has been dancing since she was even younger.
"When my mother first put me in dance, I just loved it and didn't want to stop," Garcia said.
Heather Zubkova, an instructor at Shundu Dance Studio, likes to believe dance is in her heart and soul.
"I can't imagine what my life would be without it," she said. "On my worst day, that's all I think about, how
excited I am to go to work, and give that love I have of dance to others."
Duron is convinced anybody can learn ballroom dancing, no matter how old.
"I wish I had started when I was a child," she said. "I've seen how dancing builds up kids' confidence,
self-esteem and self worth."
Ramon Renteria may be reached at 546-6146.