Thursday, September 23, 2010

Hispanic Heritage Month San Antonio Profile 2010

Eres Gomes, Alamo Arts Ballet

The Alamo Arts Ballet Theatre is taking strides to make sure that this brilliant art form is able to broaden its sphere of influence. Ballet is an empowering form of self-expression with numerous benefits, and is alive in San Antonio. The Alamo Arts Ballet Theatre's mission is to touch every sector of San Antonio, reaching youth across the city.

Eres Gomez is a testament to how allowing a child to explore an interest in a challenging yet constructive environment, such as ballet, can benefit their development.

Eres' admiration for ballet started as a child from watching the Nutcracker on TV. From then on, each Halloween she dressed as a ballerina. When her mother put her in ballet at age eight, Eres became the first and only dancer in her family.

At age twelve Eres was prepared to move to the next level of her classes. This move would mean more classes, higher tuition, and expensive shoes. As a single parent, Eres' mother couldn't afford the classes, so Eres had to leave the formal ballet setting.

Those four years of ballet affected the outcome of Eres' life, allowing her to internalize lessons that would help her self-esteem. Eres displays a freedom to be the unique person that she is. She sees herself as someone with potential, who looks forward to putting that potential to the test each day. That is the basis of her ability to be successful while maintaining her self-expression. She says ballet has been instrumental in empowering her to do that.

Even though Eres missed what she calls “some of the most crucial years” of ballet, rather than abandon what she loves, she started back at the age of twenty-one with a new dance school, the Ballet Arts School. After refocusing her attention on ballet, she auditioned and achieved performing status with the Alamo Arts Ballet Theatre. Now she is one of a few Latina American dancers performing with the theatre.

Eres appreciates ballet – from the artistic merging of the body with the music, to the almost meditative state involved in finding her center and balance. In addition, ballet is her social life. Due to their commitment to practicing up to six days a week, she says the class is like a family with which she‟s created an emotional bond. Also, Eres testifies that ballet is an awesome workout that would physically challenge an athlete from any sport.

However, her appreciation for ballet goes beyond those factors. Eres says ballet teaches important lessons in life. She believes that ballet makes a person stronger and more confident in who they are. “Every time it pushes me to do more than I think I can,” she says.

In order to illustrate the significance of the character one can build in ballet, Eres compares ballet to life. “They both can be a fight. In ballet, when you want to do a turn or a combination, you've got to fight your body for it because it's so hard to the point that your body wants to give in. Life is the same way, but ballet teaches you to fight through.”

The lessons that Eres has learned through ballet can be beneficial to all children in society. However, when it comes to ballet, it seems society has built cultural fence lines. Many children are unwilling to cross the lines despite the fact that they have the potential and opportunity. Eres urges youth to be open-minded beyond the image of ballet that's built into society.

Seeing Eres in action might be the liberating factor that gives youth permission to step past cultural fences and into that arena. Following Eres‟ lead could allow many more underserved youth to develop their self-esteem and confidence.

Eres says to those young people that are interested in dancing, “Don't let finances discourage you. If you are interested, there may be ballet schools that offer scholarships. And don‟t worry if you can't afford the workshops or dance camps, just make sure to get the most out of the classes that you do go to.”

To make finances even less of an issue for youth interested in ballet, Alamo Arts Ballet Theatre chairman, Christopher C. Herring, who is the Chief of Strategy for Air Force Recruiting Service, says, “We are exhibiting ballet lecture demonstrations in schools in the community, and if a young person comes to like ballet after trying it, the theatre will work with corporate sponsors and generous individual donors to insure financial backing.”

Attorney Patricia Davila, who was recently voted on the board of directors, indicates, “It is our civic responsibility to support the future generation of San Antonio and enable each young person to achieve their dreams to be successful.”

Herring adds, “as we celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, it is great to be able to celebrate role models like Eres who inspire her peers and young children to reach their fullest potential…we would love to have many more, 'Eres success stories' and more community supporters to continue the purpose of the nonprofit organization.”

About the Alamo Arts Ballet Theatre:
The Alamo Arts Ballet Theatre is approaching its 5th year anniversary, executive director and founder Judith Gani, and creative director, Julie Morton-Simpson were recently recognized, as finalist, by the United Way of Bexar County at the 2010 Volunteer of the Year Awards. Additionally the organization was accepted into the San Antonio Area Combined Federal Campaign, an annual federal employee giving program, to benefit nonprofit organizations. More information can be found on the organizations website or call 210-775-1138 to volunteer or contribute to the future of ballet in San Antonio.

Alamo Arts Ballet Theatre Presents: Ballet Cabaret

For San Antonio residents who want to take a break from the usual, The Alamo Arts Ballet Theatre will be performing “Ballet Cabaret,” November 6th - 7th at the Shrine Auditorium.

The Alamo Arts Ballet Theatre’s work to expose San Antonio to fresh, new ballet experiences continues with the company’s Fall 2010 production, “Ballet Cabaret.” Founder Judith Gani said that the Alamo Arts Ballet Theatre came up with the title for the weekend due to the cabaret-like elements of the venue. Also, many of the performance pieces are from the cabaret era.

“Ballet Cabaret” will feature Alamo Arts Ballet Theatre’s top dancers performing to a broad range of pieces. One classical piece will be the legendary Pas de Quatre from the mid 1800’s. Another piece will be Shostakovich’s rarely heard Jazz Suite, from 1938. There will also be choreography to music from the World War II era, as well as from composer Leroy Anderson.

The program will also include movie music ranging from Charlie Chaplain films, to Avatar. In addition, there will be guest artists from Angel Santiago's ballroom company performing cutting edge tango pieces. Alamo Arts Ballet Theatre wants to engage a broader portion of the community through “Ballet Cabaret” by going beyond mundane ballet entertainment.

Founder Judith Gani says, “Ballet can be fun, entertaining, new, and interesting. It doesn't have to be Swan Lake or the Nutcracker every time. That's why we strive to do new choreography to music that you wouldn't expect to see in ballet.”

The Shrine Auditorium is located at 901 North Loop 1604 West. Performances are on November 6th at 7:30PM and 7th at 3:00PM. For ticket information, visit, or call (210) 344-9428. “Ballet Cabaret” will be dedicated to the 230 plus non-profits raising money as a part of the San Antonio Area Combined Federal campaign.

This is the first year Alamo Arts Ballet Theatre is taking part in the CFC. Federal employees that would like to keep the arts alive in San Antonio can use their donation code #95065.

About the Alamo Arts Ballet Theatre:
The Alamo Arts Ballet Theatre is approaching its 5th year anniversary. Executive Director and Founder Judith Gani, and Artistic Director, Julie Morton-Simpson were recently recognized by the United Way of Bexar County at the 2010 Volunteer of the Year awards as finalists in their respective categories. Additionally, the organization was accepted into the San Antonio Area Combined Federal Campaign, code #95065, an annual federal employee-giving program, to benefit nonprofit organizations. More information can be found on the organizations website or call (210) 344-9428 to volunteer or contribute to the future of ballet in San Antonio.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

General Michael Hagee to Keynote Spirit of America Dinner

The Greater San Antonio Chamber is excited to announce that General Michael Hagee, former Commandant of the United States Marine Corp and current President of the National Museum of the Pacific War, will be the keynote speaker at the Celebrate America’s Military Spirit of America Dinner on November 3.

The National Museum of the Pacific War in Fredericksburg, Texas is the only institution in the United States dedicated exclusively to telling the story of the Pacific and Asiatic Theaters in World War II. General Hagee was recently featured on KLRN, where he spoke about why the National Museum of the Pacific War is located in Fredericksburg and about the war that culminated in man's only use of nuclear weapons.

September Third Thursday Draws Huge Crowd to Celebrate UTSA Football

More than 1,000 people showed support for the UTSA Alumni Association at the monthly Third Thursday event, sponsored by Silver Eagle Distributors. As a joint event with “1st and Rowdy Tailgate Party,” guests got the chance to meet the UTSA Roadrunners and head coach Larry Coker.

Attendees were able to have their photo taken with Coach Coker, and all proceeds from the event, held at the UTSA Institute of Texan Cultures, benefitted the UTSA Alumni Association. It was also an opportunity to purchase some of the first season tickets for the inaugural UTSA football season, which will begin in the fall of 2011.

Third Thursday began in July as a way to raise funds for non-profits and a place for ‘younger’ professionals to enjoy an evening with friends. The next Third Thursday will be held at The Pearl Stable Breezeway on October 21, and all of the $10 door donations will benefit Hope4Heroes. A new addition this month will be a Kids Corner, hosted by the Twig book shop.

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