Some people know this – Trent and I do have day jobs.  He is a programmer and I am a research administrator at MD Anderson Cancer Center.  We teach west coast swing because we love it and we love to perform to make people smile, and maybe even inspire others to dance.  In the last few days, we’ve had the opportunity to dance to give back!

This past Saturday was the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Cancer Stomp (www.llscancerstomp.com).  This is a 4th year event run by Emily Stonebrook and this is our 2nd year to be involved.  We taught an intermediate level WCS workshop and Krista Johnson taught a beginning ECS workshop, with all proceeds going to the LLS.  There was also a live band, The Gulf Coast Organ Trio (www.gulfcoastorgantrio.com), who played a variety of different blues for us to swing dance to!  They also had a silent auction and Te’ House of Tea provided delicious snack foods.  SSQQ Dance Studio (www.ssqqdance.com) donated the use of the studio for this great cause!  The event appeared to be a success and we were glad to be able to contribute!

Then last night was a rare treat.  Trent and I were hired to perform at a fundraiser for the Brookwood Community in Brookshire, Texas (http://www.brookwoodcommunity.org/).  The Brookwood Community is a beautiful Christian facility dedicated to the spiritual, emotional and vocational education for disabled adults. For the fundraiser, the event directors had brought in the premier boogie-woogie blues pianist, Axel Zwingenberger (http://www.boogiewoogie.net/) and soulful blues vocalist, Lila Ammons.  Their music just makes you want to move your feet and clap yours hands!  The directors had hired us as a surprise to the guests that were there.  Once the music got going, when the mood struck us, we just got out there and danced!  At first, I think some of the guests were confused, but soon they were just sitting back and enjoying the whole show.  It was wonderful to be a part of that and to get a chance to talk with the guests about dance and about west coast swing.  Who knows?  We might have converted a few!  

Trent was especially happy last night and he got a chance to talk blues history with Dr. Jon Tennison (http://www.nonjohn.com/), who was in attendance last night.  He is a blues and boogie woogie historian, as well as a musician and recently played in the Boogie Woogie Heritage Festival in Marshall, Texas.  Apparently, Trent’s family history has some roots in traditional Cherokee dance and Dr. John was VERY excited at the prospect of getting to find out more.  Who knew?

We also had a chance to get to check out the green house and nursery at the facility as well as the gift shop.  Many of the items in the shop are either made or packaged by the Brookwood residents and the green house and nursery are tended by the residents as well.   It just so happens that Trent and I are looking to redo some landscaping at our house and they had some beautiful plants and a birdhouse and bird bath that I really liked!  Plus, the nursery has outdoor seating for the attached cafe, which had catered the event.  The food was absolutely wonderful! Juicy beef tenderloin topped with roasted peppers on potato crisp, beef and mushroom puff pastries, bite size salad mini cups, potato and corn poppers topped with sour cream and cavier… the list goes on. So we’ll definitely be making a outing to Brookshire soon, for some good food, beautiful plants and a good cause!

We feel really lucky that we’ve been able to participate in events like these.  All because of dance!