And a conversation with dancer Patrik Gallineaux
By Seán Martinfield
Sentinel Fine Arts Critic
Photo by Lynn Imanaka
SEÁN MARTINFIELD and CHERYL BURKE
San Francisco was dancing with the stars at the Grand Opening Gala of CHERYL BURKE DANCE – site of the newly-converted Metronome Dance Center. Attending the very glamorous Cheryl Burke were Tom Bergeron, host of Dancing With The Stars, Jerry Rice and Cheryl’s former partner Drew Lachey. Coming in as the new leading man, handsome actor Christián de la Fuente promised he would spend the weekend practicing. Following a brief fanfare from Aaron Copland’s “Theme For The Common Man”, Cheryl’s mother (and business partner), Sherry, reminded the excited crowd that proceeds from the evening would be donated to Mayor Gavin Newsom’s initiative, SHAPE-UP SAN FRANCISCO. “We have provided a very acceptable venue for San Francisco and the Bay Area to dance, have fun, and stay in shape”, she said. Joining the applause was Mayor Newsom and his beautiful fiancée, Jennifer Siebel.
MAYOR GAVIN NEWSOM and JENNIFER SIEBEL
Photo by Steve Simons
“I never though my fiancée would ever get me in a dance studio,” said Newsom, who admitted to being a dedicated and enthusiastic fan of Dancing With The Stars. “We are happy to connect our efforts with Cheryl Burke and her partners and the good people of this studio here in San Francisco. Eat your heart out, Los Angeles!”
Operations Director Michael Reeves gave the surprise news. “Gavin, don’t forget, you have five free lessons from Cheryl Burke Dance for you and your fiancée, Jennifer. We’re going to give them a Wedding Dance. How’s that?!” The applause and screaming meter zoomed. Imagine.
This I want to see.
On hand to give me the inside scoop about Wedding Dances, the new studio and the health benefits of dance as a primary means of exercise and for improving one’s social skills – even with five lessons! – was my good friend, performer and dance instructor Patrik Gallineaux. I asked him to tell me about the transformation of the Metronome Dance Center into Cheryl Burke Dance and his position is with it.
Patrik: Dance and fitness are life-enriching elements that truly counter aging, promote benevolence, and act as vital keepers of peace in a world greatly in need. San Francisco deserves a spectacular place where one can go and discover these treasures. I feel very blest that I’m a teacher and performer with opportunities to help students do so through my partnership with Cheryl Burke Dance. It is very difficult – as everyone knows – to make a living in the Performing Arts. I come from a family who has owned a studio for 25 years, DANCE ARTS. My mother has had it since 1983. I’ve seen first hand how studios struggle and my family is lucky that it has done very well. The Arts do not get the funding it needs. Just in the past six months alone several studios in the Bay Area have closed. At one point the Metronome was landsliding. That was before the dot.com bust of 2001. It was about five minutes from closing its doors forever until Cheryl Burke came in with her mother, Sherry. Dancing With The Stars is one of the hottest shows on television. There could be no better way to get people energized and interested in dance than a partnership of some sort with that show. Already I can see that the Studio is taking on new life. It has been re-painted, re-modeled, and re-invigorated. I believe that this partnership will bring dance to so many people and charm the Studio into being the success that it should be.
PATRIK GALLINEAUX and SEÁN MARTINFIELD
Seán: Tell me more about your mother’s studio.
Patrik: Dance Arts celebrated its 25th Anniversary last summer. I went back with my dance partner and headlined the Anniversary Performance. The studio is amazing, with 300 to 400 students at any time. It is regarded as “the place to dance” in the western New York area. What really struck me was the number of people who came up afterwards and said what a difference my mother has made in their lives. Dance gears a teacher toward opportunities of making a difference in the way people feel about themselves, their self-esteem – from the mental aspect, to weight loss, and the chance to interact with other people. That’s what my mother has done with her studio – to touch people’s lives. That is what will be happening now with Cheryl Burke Dance because of its emphasis on fitness and education, through its outreach to the schools, as well as its partnership with the Mayor’s Office.
Seán: It is also possible that Cheryl Burke Dance will see a number of its younger participants emerge as future professionals and go on to compete in such venues as Dancing With The Stars.
Patrik: Absolutely! Dancing can make a difference in everyone’s life. You don’t have to be kicking your shoes over your shoulder or on television or even on stage for that matter. I’ve seen people who have gone through depression or personal conflict – I’ve seen them take up dancing and watch how their lives are transformed. That’s what I see happening at Cheryl Burke Dance. The popularity of the show will get them through the door. But once inside, it will demonstrate how dance can make a difference in their lives.
Seán: Other studios are not necessarily geared to that, but focus on the competitive side. For example, those grinding out a ballet or lyric dancer or appealing to individuals whose goal is to be on Broadway.
Patrik: That’s true. A lot of studios focus on the elements of competition and do not have a philanthropic aspect. The new owners of this studio are coming from a place of wanting to help the community and the world in general. I’m also sure the studio will have its share of those who can be developed into competitive dancers. I know the studio will attract some of the best dancers in the world and will probably turn out some of the best dancers in the world. I believe it is one of the most well rounded studios that can be found anywhere in the United States.
Seán: One of these days I want to learn the fox trot. Are you going to continue teaching at Cheryl Burke Dance?
Patrik: I am! I’m in a really neat position because I am an independent instructor. I run my own business. I’ve always had a wonderful relationship with the studio, which used to be the Metronome Dance Center. I’m excited about maintaining and growing that relationship with Cheryl Burke Dance. You may well find me teaching classes, hosting a dance party, or performing in their future showcase productions.
Seán: What are your favorite dances? When someone says, “Get Patrik to teach you that one” – what will it be?
Patrik: The popular dance forms – fox trot, waltz, tango, Viennese waltz, cha-cha, rhumba, salsa, swing – those are my favorites. I actually specialize in teaching wedding couples their first dance. Anything from a basic fox trot to a spectacular medley of songs. I have had some incredible requests in the last few years. I treat all my students as individuals. I look at their needs and their abilities. I’m a stage performer by nature and through training. I love translating typical ballroom dance onto the stage.
For more information about classes and programs: CHERYL BURKE DANCE
The Shape Up SF Coalition is a public/private partnership and serves as the organizing body for The Challenge. The Coalition seeks to create healthy environments where people live, play, work and learn. The Coalition is a multidisciplinary body with representation from city government, community based organizations, businesses, schools, health care, and others. The Coalition utilizes a public health approach, as such its efforts focus on primary prevention.
The mission of Shape Up San Francisco is to advance the awareness of and opportunities for increased physical activity and improved nutrition where people live, play, work and learn. The Challenge has four primary goals:
To reduce chronic disease and disparities among San Franciscans using culturally and age appropriate strategies.
To create environments that support healthy eating and active living in San Francisco.
To provide fun, motivating and accessible opportunities for people who live, learn, work and play in San Francisco to get physically active.
To encourage everyone to use the resources available in San Francisco to get active and eat healthfully.
For more information: SHAPE-UP SAN FRANCISCO
Visit Seán on YouTube: Lorena Feijóo – A Look at “Giselle” with Seán Martinfield
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