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Ballroom dancers compare their organization to family

Will celebrate 30th anniversary Sept. 7

Hawaii Ballroom Dance Association, Central Maui Chapter board members Ron Baybado, president (from left); Shirley Andres, secretary; Luz Manuel, treasurer; and Manny Suguitan, vice president, say the members are a close-knit group.

The Central Maui Chapter of the Hawaii Ballroom Dance Association will celebrate its 30-year anniversary with an anniversary ball from 5:30 to 10 p.m. Sept. 7 in the Maui Beach Hotel’s Elleair Ballroom. The event includes a variety of dance styles, including fox trot, rumba, hustle and west coast swing. The highlight will be the showcase performances by dancers from Oahu and Maui.

The Hawaii Ballroom Dance Association, with chapters on Oahu and the Big Island, began 60 years ago and functions as a charitable nonprofit organization. The purpose of the organization is to enhance the quality of life within the community and provide a place for people with a common purpose to come together to socialize and dance. Volunteers serve as instructors, dance directors, DJs and board members to keep the music flowing and the people dancing.

Organizers say the Central Maui Chapter functions like a family. “My wife and I were avid dancers and active in HBDA for many years,” said President Ron Baybado. “When she passed, the support from other dancers I received was overwhelming. It keeps me energized and inspires me to continue and involve others as well.”

For the young and the young at heart, dancing means different things to different people. “It’s all about the connections and the friends that you make while dancing,” says Treasurer Luz Manuel.

“People are so friendly, it’s more than a social organization but like a family,” added Secretary Shirley Andres.

The instructors volunteer their time and effort to build the dancing program. Their philosophy is summed up in the words of Assistant Dance Director Jeff DelaCruz when he says, “Every person has the ability to improve and enhance themselves through dance. People will dance to their own level and we are here to help them have fun and enjoy the journey.”

The Maui chapter meets regularly on Monday evenings and provides two levels of dance classes as well as line dancing. Dance instruction varies from quarter to quarter and dancers of all levels are welcome.

Tickets for the HBDA Maui’s 30th anniversary event are $50 and available by calling Lydia DelaCruz at 244-3263. For more information, visit facebook.com/ballroomdancemaui.