Dancing with Steph

Dance Instructor Eric Tiwanak
Dance Instructor Eric Tiwanak
Dance Instructor Gail Tiwanak
Dance Instructor Gail Tiwanak

By Stephanie Lum - bio | email

HONOLULU (KHNL) - Young or old, tall or short, it doesn't matter who you are, you can dance! The Hawaii Ballroom Dance Association is once again proving that in its annual fundraiser Saturday night called "Dancing with the Celebrities". The crowd will be treated to a night of entertainment and dances performed by amateurs and their instructors.

"This is a fun way to raise money so that we can build a special housing just for instructing our students," said dance instructor Eric Tiwanak.

This year, I will be among the amateurs attempting to tear up the dance floor. My instructors, Eric and Gail Tiwanak have been ballroom dancing for 9 years and are coincidentally, the parents of my pre-school classmate.

"When we first started working with you, you were quite stiff," said Eric. "We had to break down this jock attitude in you, this triathlete and make you soft. We also needed to teach you how to walk like a lady," Tiwanak said.

For one month, the Tiwanaks patiently worked with me to become a decent dancer. We practiced 4 times a week dancing the mambo to a song I have always wanted to dance to: "Time of My Life" made famous by the movie "Dirty Dancing".

"Everybody has seen the movie," said Eric.

"In Dirty Dancing, this was actually, this dance was the focal point of what he taught her," said Gail.

Just like in the movie, I also envisioned taking flight and becoming a real dancer, but I quickly learned, what happens in the movies doesn't exactly happen in real life.

"Relax! Feel the music!" said Gail during one of our dance practices. "Try to exaggerate your movements, move your hips, your feet and make your turns crisp!"

Soon, I found myself dancing without hesitation and slowly, my confidence started to build.

"We're at the point I think, where we're really focusing on just making sure that we're all ready to go that night!" said Gail. "I was a little nervous because it does take practice and it does take time, but you made the time, we made the time and we practiced hard so we're ready to go!"

Tickets to the Hawaii Ballroom Dance Association's fundraiser are still available. It starts at 6:30 Saturday night at the Ala Wai Palladium on the Ala Wai golf course.