A Night to Dance Away
Dance is a powerful expression. It can set us free from many inhibitions we contain within us. These were some of the expressions of Dancing With The APAHA Stars. It was an evening celebrating Asian Pacific American Heritage Association’s Annual Gala at the Royal Sonesta Hotel in Houston, Texas. The theme for this year was Dancing with the APAHA Stars where four Houston “Celebrities” were paired with a professional dancer to compete live at the Gala, making this evening unforgettable while supporting a good cause. To some it was a gala and a dance show but for the participants it was an opportunity to not only show their talent but let go and immerse themselves in dance while embracing a new challenge. “I recently had a few relationship failures and this dance performance has liberated me and made me strong,” shared one of the contestants Dr. Monica Patel, who was also the winner of the competition that evening.
Asian Pacific American Heritage Association (APAHA) is a non-profit organization that was started in Houston in 1992 with the mission to promote awareness and increase understanding of the Asian Pacific American culture and its diversity through education and celebration. The month of May is celebrated nationally as Asian Pacific American Heritage Month.
“I was thrilled to be one of the dancers. We trained for seven weeks before the competition and it was such a great experience learning the cha-cha. I am looking forward to continue dancing in the future,” says Anika Jackson. Amongst the other participants were: Adrian Garcia and Dr. Marc Nguyen, who certainly awed the audience with their spunky dance movies.
On this special evening, APAHA recognized and honored those who made a tremendous contribution to the Asian American and Pacific Islander community in Houston. The gala was a splendid show of dance and South Asian fashion fair. Anika Jackson sported a sari inspired evening gown designed by Jio’zei Reyes. Gala guests included: Sneha Merchant (Gala Chair), Naushir Merchant, Dr. Sippi and Ajay Khurana, Shiva Rafferty, Michael Pearce, Munira Panjwani, Miya Shay (Emcee), Pooja Lodhia, Charisma Gassman, Ulna Shah Patel, Mandy Kao, Cindy and Dr. Franklin Rose, Dr. Monira Kundi, Sadaf Choudhury, Alice Mao Brams, Christina Zhou, Gina Li, Amy Dichoso, Viet Hoang, Beenish A. Syed, Rajnider Kaur Dhaliwal, and Henry Florsheim, General Manager ABC-13 Houston (Award Recipient).
Photos by Quy Tran