Wed07302014

News

"Brown is the new green," says local water district


Lina Broydo/Special to the Town Crier
Are downtown Los Altos flower pots getting too much water? The Santa Clara Valley Water District plans to hire “water cops” to discourage overwatering.

The Santa Clara Valley Water District is spending nearl...

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Schools

Foothill camps prepare local students for STEM careers

Foothill camps prepare local students for STEM careers


Photos Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Middle school students make robotic hands using 3-D printers during a STEM Summer Camp at Foothill College.

From designing roller coasters to developing biodegradable plastics, high school students received an i...

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Community

Local entrepreneur opens home to Afghan and Rwandan women

Local entrepreneur opens home to Afghan and Rwandan women


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Businesswomen Joan Mazimhaka of Rwanda, third from left, and Fakhria Ibrahimi of Afghanistan, in orange, traveled to the U.S. with a 26-woman delegation through the Peace Through Business program.

Employees scoop ice ...

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Comment

Moving on: The Rockey Road

Just over a month ago, we decided to put our house on the market. My husband and I had been tossing around the idea of moving back to the area where we grew up, which is only approximately 40 minutes from here. Of course, Los Altos is a great place t...

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Business

Halo heads to Los Altos: Blow-dry bar founder opens new First Street location Monday

Halo heads to Los Altos: Blow-dry bar founder opens new First Street location Monday


ElLie Van Houtte/ Town Crier
Armed with blow dryers, Halo founder Rosemary Camposano, left, and store manager Nikki Thomas prepare for the blow-dry bar’s grand opening on First Street Monday.

A blow-dry bar is set to open downtown Monday, and i...

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Books

"Frozen in Time" chronicles harrowing WWII rescue attempts


Many readers can’t resist a true-life adventure story, especially those that shine a spotlight on people who exhibit supreme courage in the face of adversity and end up surviving – or not – against the odds.

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People

DR. ALFRED HUGHES

Long time Los Altos resident, Dr. Alfred Hughes, died May 1st after a long illness. Dr. Hughes was born in 1927 in Maspeth, NY. He served in the US Army from 1945-6, attended Brooklyn Polytechnic University, then graduated from Reed College in Portla...

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Travel

Travel Tidbit: Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe offers spa getaway

Travel Tidbit: Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe offers spa getaway


Courtesy of Ritz-Carlton
The Ritz-Carlton in Lake Tahoe offers fall getaway packages that include spa treatments and yoga classes.

Fall in North Lake Tahoe boasts crisp mornings and opportunities to spend quality time in the mountains. Specially ...

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Stepping Out

'Wizard' winds down at Bus Barn

'Wizard' winds down at Bus Barn


Town Crier file photo
Local actors rehearse a scene from “The Wizard of Oz.”

Los Altos Youth Theatre and Los Altos Stage Company’s collaborative production of “The Wizard of Oz” is slated to close Sunday at Bus Barn Theater, 97 Hillview Ave.

T...

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Spiritual Life

Stanford University appoints new dean for religious life

Stanford University appoints new dean for religious life


Shaw

Stanford University named the Very Rev. Dr. Jane Shaw, dean of Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, its new dean for religious life.

Provost John Etchemendy announced Shaw’s appointment July 21, adding that she also will join the faculty in...

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Magazine

Festival features fun for everyone

Festival features fun for everyone


TOWN CRIER FILE PHOTO
The Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival boasts more than 375 craft and arts booths.

This weekend’s 35th annual Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival promises to be jam-packed with fun activities for just about everyone. The eve...

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The first dance: Couples take to the floor after taking their vows

Photo Top Photo Courtesy Of Michael Kent Photography Above By Eren Gknar, Newlyweds Ann Chasson and Robert Phair celebrate the finale of their successful first dance.

It’s traditional for the bride and groom to dance their first dance together as newlyweds while guests watch, but it’s not necessarily easy.

Accustomed to boogying down to popular music, many contemporary couples find themselves unprepared for old-fashioned ballroom dancing.

As a result, more and more beginners are seeking help from professional instructors, who not only teach the steps, but also help choreograph the dance routines.

“A lot of couples don’t have a song picked out when they come to me,” said Yana Schlenker, a dance instructor with Cheryl Burke Dance Studio, 1400 N. Shoreline Blvd. in Mountain View. “The first thing I do is assign them homework: Go home and pick out a dance.”

“Most of them have never danced before,” said Schlenker, a Russian native who has taught dance for 15 years.

She teaches private dance classes to couples mainly during “wedding dance season,” from April to September.

Schlenker recommends that couples take five to 10 lessons before the big day “to get to a pretty comfortable place.” She tries to dissuade clients from the waltz, preferring the two-step, because “it’s a great romantic dance and very pretty.”

The most popular songs for first dances are “At Last” by Etta James, Frank Sinatra selections and “I’m Yours” by Jason Mraz.

Some duos approach the performance with dread, but others take up the challenge and continue dancing as a hobby even after the wedding. With time and practice, couples who take lessons say they do well.

 

Couples that dance together …

Los Altos residents Robert Phair and Ann Chasson are used to teamwork – they run a company together out of their home – but they weren’t dancers before getting married. Chasson, CEO of Integrative Bioinformatics Inc., and Phair, chief science officer, said they jointly agreed on the necessity for dance classes.

“We were not dancers previously,” said Phair, admitting he was nervous about the prospect of dancing in front of an audience.

Chasson, however, was more optimistic about their talent.

“She was pretty sure we were going to pull it off, but she’s generally more confident about most things,” Phair said.

Deciding on the Beach Boys’ “California Girls,” they learned the East Coast Swing, hoping to dance to rock ’n’ roll at their reception. They attended teacher Robin Rebello’s six-week beginning dance series Tuesdays and Thursdays at the Los Altos American Legion Hall at 347 First St.

Rebello, who also gives private lessons, said she tries to “tailor everything to what the couple can do,” making suggestions based on their personalities and/or preferences.

In addition to taking lessons, Chasson said they practiced three to four times weekly.

“We worked hard,” she said. “Robin’s a phenomenal teacher.”

They started lessons three months before their wedding, which they celebrated in 2009 at a bed and breakfast in Chester, Pa.

Both bride and groom have adult children from previous marriages. Their wedding was small, with family only, so they weren’t dancing for show, Chasson said. She relaxed during the dance, and said everyone else was smiling.

 

Seasoned dancers take

lessons, too

Christa Setiawan, a nurse in the hematology and oncology department at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital in Palo Alto, is no stranger to dance.

A fan of “Dancing with the Stars,” Setiawan also took ballet classes at Sacramento State.

“I’ve always liked to dance,” Setiawan said.

“I’ve always wanted to learn,” quipped her husband-to-be, Blaine Uehara, who works for a Los Altos builder.

The Mountain View residents, who are planning a big wedding in his native Hawaii May 14, signed up for twice-a-week private classes at Cheryl Burke Dance Studio.

Setiawan had watched a “Dancing with the Stars” segment that featured the jive, a fast-paced competition-style dance.

“I liked the dance because it was energetic,” she said.

Schlenker, their instructor, had some reservations about the jive.

“She said, ‘Are you serious?’” Setiawan recalled.

They took a few days to decide on the music, wavering among “Mercy” by Duffy, Keith Urban’s “Making Memories of Us” and Van Morrison’s “Moondance,” which won the contest.

After just four lessons, Schlenker praised the couple’s progress.

“They are going a little faster than I thought, and I think this is going to be surprising to their families,” she said.

Adult Ed dance classes

Dance instructor Ellen Murray (no relation to Arthur Murray Dance Studios) and her partner Gene Esswein decided to teach a wedding dance class through Mountain View-Los Altos Adult Education when students said they couldn’t find one anywhere.

Their next six-week class, scheduled to begin Sept. 13, costs $37 and introduces the standbys: the nightclub two-step, a swing and foxtrot medley and the waltz.

Murray, a Bennington College graduate who majored in English, always loved to danced. She said her classes are low-key.

“I’m not at all like ‘Dancing with the Stars,’” Murray said.

Most students are nervous about their first dance, she said, “and it’s only natural, because all eyes are on you.”

Murray promised to help women “dance comfortably in a long gown and heels” and make a “graceful entrance for your big moment in the spotlight.”

Murray, 70, is an aficionado of the tango and recently traveled to Argentina.

Dancing makes her feel “ageless” and “really puts me in the present, the now,” she said.

For more information on Cheryl Burke Dance Studio, visit www.cherylburkedance.com.

For more information on Robin Rebello’s classes, visit www.readybyte.com/fridaynightdance.

For more information on Mountain View-Los Altos Adult Education classes, visit www.mvlaae.net.

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