TRICIA CORTEZ: ENVIRONMENTAL SPECIALIST

BY DR. NEO GUTIERREZ
JULY  2018

TEXAS SUPREME COURT RULING RE:   LAREDO PLASTIC BAG ORDINANCE


  Tricia Cortez of Laredo, Texas,  joined the Rio Grande International Study Center in May 2010, where she currently serves as executive director of Laredo’s only environmental nonprofit organization.   She is responsible for carrying out its mission to protect and preserve our only source of drinking water – the Rio Grande – and local green spaces. She is deeply committed to sustainable land-use practices, habitat protection, responsible water management, and improved quality of life for South Texas border residents.

A San Antonio native, Tricia graduated from Princeton University with a Bachelor’s degree in public policy from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs with a minor in Mandarin Chinese. She moved to Laredo in 2001 and worked seven years as a senior reporter at the Laredo Morning Times. She drank the water, and the rest is history!

Tricia remains in awe of the Rio Grande-Rio Bravo, and how much life this river gives each day to millions of people in the U.S. and Mexico. Constant respect and protection of this mighty yet neglected and endangered river must remain a top priority for our community. She hopes that each of you will join RGISC in this ongoing effort.

TRICIA CORTEZ
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
RIO GRANDE INTERNATIONAL STUDY CENTER

June 22, 2018
Laredo, TX
“Pecos Bill just shot down Mother Nature in broad daylight,” said Tricia Cortez, executive director of the Rio Grande International Study Center, a Laredo-based nonprofit that worked on a 10-year campaign to get the Laredo plastic bag ordinance passed.
“This ruling threatens to roll back years of progress and beautification that have already taken place,” Cortez said. “We will continue to fight and we won’t give up.”
RGISC and the City of Laredo will unroll a public awareness campaign asking the public and local retailers to stay the course, and to keep making the right changes for Mother Earth.
“Too much is at stake,” Corrtez said. “The powers that be in Texas may still bow down to big corporate money but the tide will turn in this state. We will be part of that beautiful movement, and we ask the people of Texas and retailers to continue phasing out these unnecessary plastic bags. Plastic bags are real. They clog up the whole environment. This is a big loss for Texas.”
Cortez noted that this is a hollow victory for the Laredo downtown merchants since the leader of the group, Les Norton, doesn’t even live in Laredo.
“It’s amazing that a tiny group of downtown merchants, headed by someone who doesn’t even live in Laredo, could halt progress and beautification efforts for the rest of the 250,000 people who live in this community,” she said.
RGISC, an environmental nonprofit, helped lead a 10-year campaign to ensure passage of the Laredo ordinance through the Laredo City Council.
When earlier attempts failed in 2008 due to lobbyists hired by the Laredo downtown merchants, Brownsville took inspiration from Laredo’s efforts and enacted their own ordinance, becoming the first city in Texas to do so.
The cities of Austin, South Padre Island, Freer, and Fort Stockton among others soon followed in their footsteps.
RGISC | 1 West End Washington Street, Bldg. P-11, Laredo, TX  78040 |
Rio Grande International Study Center (RGISC), 1 West End Washington Street, Bldg. P-11, Laredo, TX 78040
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MEET RAUL FLORES, JR. : POET, ARCHITECT, FAMILY MAN

BY DR. NEO GUTIERREZ
JUNE  2018
Raul Flores, Jr.,  was in my 9th grade English class at Christen Jr. High School in Laredo in 1957, when I was 21 years old, and he was 14.  Below you can read one of his poems, about Zapata, Texas, where he lived as a kid. But he was born in Laredo,  where he returned as a teen  to live in order to go to school. He writes about being in my English class as an enjoyable task, and he is thankful I was his teacher. Enjoy his poem below,  learn all about his education for his professional work, as well as his family endeavors.

Once Upon a time

Once upon a time I thought I knew

That the world was fresh and new

The pleasant fragrance of the summer rain

And the beautiful rainbow were proof again

That those things of beauty would always remain

A part of my carefree and innocent life

But the times did change as the seasons did fly

The long northern winds made me cold

The short springs I did love

The extended summers I did cherish

As I played in the warm sun until its setting

Once upon a time I thought I knew

But the times changed as the winds again blew

Dust in my teeth dust in my hair

I so wish I was still there.

Raul Flores, Jr.

14 March 2016

Raul was born in Laredo in 1943 and grew up in both Old Zapata and the new town.  He went in elementary schools in Zapata, and moved with the family to Laredo in 1957. Attended one year at L.J. Christen Jr. High and graduated from Martin High School in 1961. Graduated from Texas AM University in 1966 with a degree in architecture.  Joined the USAF and was discharged honorably in 1970.  He worked with the City of Laredo and established the City’s first Building Department from 1975 to 1979.  From 1979 to 1999 worked as V.P. of construction for Armadillo Homes.  After returning to work for the city’s Planning Dept, he retired in 2004 and moved to Houston.  He now spends lots of time with his four grandkids, attends many Houston Astros baseball games, reads a lot, and writes as much as time allows.

(Note:  This poem is based on his memories of the new town of Zapata, barren of trees–lots of caliche dust blowing onto everyone’s  faces and  teeth, and with lots of time riding  bicycles all around town to sandlot baseball games, all in the hot
sun .)

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A CULTURE LESSON: MEXICO’S  5  DE  MAYO



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By Dr. Neo Gutierrez
May 2018

During my 32 years on the faculty of Beverly Hills High School I directed/produced yearly a major school assembly  on the topic of 5 de mayo. It was a major culture lesson through music, song, and dance of Mexico.  The school assembly was called FIESTA BEVERLY. 

Read below the story of 5 de mayo. A million thanks to terrific writer Roberto Franco Vazquez and LARED LATINA for informing us:

Mexico’s “Cinco de Mayo: (5th of May)
      “El Cinco de Mayo,” or fifth of May, commemorates the triumphant victory of the Mexican forces over the French interventionists in 1862. The highly out numbered Mexican force s acquitted themselves in a valiant manner against the highly trained and equipped French Army led by Veteran General Charles Ferdinand Latrille de Lorencz. 

 

     The over confident French Forces figured they would have an easy march from the port city of Veracruz to Mexico City. However, the Mexican forces commanded by General Ignacio Zaragosa and Brigadier General Diaz, outclassed and outman euvered the stunned stunned French Army which was humiliatingly defeated in the fortified city of Puebla.

 

     General Zaragosa, managed his troops with rare aplomp. The decisive manuever of the day was carried out by Brigadier General Diaz, who repelled a determined assault on Gen. Zaragosa’s right flank. The dejected French invaders, many vet erans of more glorio us days, retreated to the city of Orizaba. Hence, May 5 —“El Cinco de Mayo,”— was added to the National Calendar of Holidays in honor of this heroic Mexican Victory.

 

     About a year later, after receiving 30,000 reinforcements from France, the French forces led by General Elie Forey surrounded the city of Puebla and bombarded it into submission. However, the glorious “Cinco de Mayo,” Mexican victory, marked the beginning of the end for the French Intervention in Mexico.

 

     “El Cinco de Mayo,” is an official holiday in Mexico and is celebrated with a host of festivals, military parades, and formal and official gatherings of elite social and political leaders.

 
     In America, the 5th of May, is celebrated by Mexican Americans in a similar fashion, but without all the conventional formality. Hispanics commemorate this day with outdoor folk concerts, picnics, dances, youth parades, and other relat ed festivals and activities. “El Cinco de Mayo,” offers Hispanics in the USA, the opportunity to touch base with their cultural heritage, and to take pride in one of Mexico’s great military.
         
NEO NOTE:  Again, a million thanks to writer  Roberto Franco Vazquez and LARED LATINA  for keeping us informed so beautifully.

Now, let’s go out and celebrate ! 

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HAPPY 100TH BIRTHDAY TO NELDA DRURY!

BY DR. NEO GUTIERREZ
APRIL 2018

On April 21 I will be 83, but that figure seems insignificant when  I think that the same month this year  is dear friend Nelda Drury’s 100th birthday ! ! !

When Nelda found out years ago that I was going to go to New York City during the summers to study dance and get my Master of Arts degree in Dance and Related Arts, she quickly got in touch with me. She had studied at Columbia, and she wanted to make arrangements with Mrs. E. F. Young of NYC for me to rent a room in her apartment.  Nelda had rented from Mrs. Young when she attended Columbia.  And so, I ended up living two blocks from Columbia U., and I would walk everyday by the world-famous  Juilliard School of Music, which was on the way.  To this day, I have to thank Nelda for such great help, when I really needed directional guidance. Btw, Nelda also got a Master of Arts degree in Dane and Related Arts from Columbia U. in NYC, like I did.

But let’s find out about Nelda. First, some notes from the San Antonio Express-News:

NELDA DRURY & SAN ANTONIO FOLK DANCE FESTIVAL

Nelda Drury, who turns 100 in April, founded the San Antonio Folk Dance Festival, which is marking its 60th anniversary. Photo: Courtesy Photo
Nelda Drury, who turns 100 in April, founded the San Antonio Folk Dance Festival, which is marking its 60th anniversary.
Nelda Drury posted for this photo in the 50s, which is when she founded the San Antonio Folk Dance Festival. The event marks its 60th anniversary in March, about a month before Drury turns 100-years-old. Photo: Courtesy Photo
Nelda Drury posted for this photo in the 50s, which is when she founded the San Antonio Folk Dance Festival. The event marks its 60th anniversary in March, about a month before Drury turns 100-years-old.
Nelda Drury, founder of the San Antonio Folk Dance Festival, get her first taste of international dance when she was 5 years old.

A student from the teachers’ college in San Marcos came to her school to teach the youngsters some dance steps.

“I remember Mother saying she got to swish her skirt and they put lipstick on her,” said Liz Newton, Drury’s daughter. “She said, ‘This is living!’”
She never lost her love of dance. She created the dance program at San Antonio College, where she taught for 25 years; she taught all over the world, including a memorable stint in Japan that she particularly loved; and she founded the San Antonio festival, which marks its 60th anniversary this weekend.

The spotlight this year will be on Bulgarian, Romanian and vintage American dance. The event includes workshops, dance parties and two public concerts. Friday night’s concert focuses on Hispanic culture and Saturday’s has an international focus.

“I’m so pleased that we’re still having the festival,” Drury said. “And this is going to be a big one.”

Drury herself is celebrating a landmark this year. In April, she turns 100.

Nelda Drury Biography

Nelda Drury
Status:        Inactive 
Specialty:   Mexican dance
Range:        Mexican/North/Central/South American dance


Nelda Guerrero Drury

Nelda Guerrero Drury is the daughter of Adelfa Gonzalez, sister of María and Aminita Gonzalez, the latter two prominent Laredo, Texas, school teachers. At the age of five, Nelda gave her first dance performance during a celebration in a small town in Texas. She grew up learning a wide variety of Mexican dances. Serious study of dance began for Nelda at the University of Mexico in Mexico City under the late Alura Flores de Angeles.

While teaching Mexican dance at the Texas Folk Dance Camp, Jane Farwell invited Nelda to teach at the Mt. Horeb camp in Wisconsin. Invitations to other camps on the east and west coasts followed in close succession. In 1956, Nelda traveled with Michael and Marianne Herman on a State Department sponsored trip to Japan, where she shared the Mexican culture with enthusiastic dancers. Nelda taught Mexican, modern, and ballroom dance full time as Professor of Dance at San Antonio College in San Antonio, Texas.

She earned her bachelors degree from the University of Texas, then headed the girl’s Physical Education Department at Martin High School, then the only high school in Laredo, Texasa. She left to study at Columbia University in New York where she earned her masters degree. She did additional post graduate work at the University of Mexico.

Nelda Guerrero Drury 1971 Nelda has done extensive research in Mexican, Central American, and South American dance. Her teaching has taken her throughout the United States, Mexico, the Orient, and Europe, presenting her seminars and displaying her dance form. She has a wealth of dance costumes that she has collected on her round-the-world travels.

Nelda has been an instructor at Columbia University’s Summer Graduate Seminar of Dance; an instructor at the University of Texas Graduate Seminar of Dance; a guest instructor at the universities of Wisconsin and Mexico; the American University in Beirut, and the Texas Women’s College in Denton, Texas.

She also has been a guest instructor at folk dance camps: Maine Folk Dance Camp, which she was instrumental in founding; Folklore Village Camp; Idlewild Dance Camp; Santa Barbara Folk Dance Camp; University of Pacific Dance Camp (now Stockton Folk Dance Camp); Los Alamos New Mexico Institute; the National Folk Festivals in Washington, D.C., New York, and St. Louis; Lighted Lantern Folk Dance Camp above Boulder, Colorado; The Folk Arts Center in Boston; and the New England Folk Festival, also in Boston.


She writes, “I am so blessed to have had the opportunity to be involved with folk dance since the late 1940s, early 1950s, and to have gotten to know, work with, learn from people such as Vyts Beliajus, Dick Crum, Jane Farwell, Alura Flores de Angeles, Madelynne Greene, Michael and Mary Ann Herman, “Uncle” Ralph Page, Dave Rosenberg, and so many other wonderful folk dancers.”
Nelda Guerrero Drury 1971Nelda retired from her faculty position as head of the Danced Department at San Antonio College in Texas in 1986, but in 1995 she received the Ford Salute to Education, presented by Ford vice president Ross Roberts, which reads, “Nelda Guerrero-Drury is recognized nationally and locally as one of the most prominent figures in performing arts – specifically International Folk Dance. She is an inspiring individual who has contributed over 40 years of her life teaching folk dance to many students and educators in San Antonio and throughout the world. Her folk dance teaching skills and talents have been a “passport” to such countries as Japan, Switzerland and Germany. Nelda is a retired Professor Emeritus from San Antonio College where she founded the Annual Folk Dance Festival.

She continues to stay active by teaching in folk dance conferences and generously volunteering her time at the Westminster Square Senior Citizens Apartments and Our Lady of the Lake University.”

She was conferred with the National Dance Association (NDA) with its highest award given for a distinguished record of accomplishment at the NDA’s annual meeting in Cincinnati, Ohio, on Saturday, March 31, 2001.

This award was not only a great honor for the personal affection and regard of her colleagues in the dance world, but also the first time the award has gone to a teacher with a community college career. She received the “Heritage Award” from the National Health Physical Education and Dance Association, during which she was given a scrap book filled with congratulatory letters from other dance enthusiasts and teachers. In 2008, Nelda received an award for “special recognition for her 50 years of dedicated work” for the San Antonio Folk Dance Festival. In 1994, she received the National Folk Organization’s “Certificate of Merit” and in 2014 their “Preserving Our Heritage” award.

Nelda is the Vice President of the International Folk Culture Center in San Antonio, Texas, where she directed the weekly International Dance Program and its outreach programs.

Nelda writes, “A bad left knee keeps me from hopping around like I used to do. I’m a professional volunteer now!”

She continues to organize folk dance workshops and seminars in Texas while her son Jimmy Drury and daughter Liz Drury continue the family teaching tradition. Nelda no longer teaches or travels.

Dances Nelda has taught include Caballos Panzones, Carnavalito, Chiapanecas, Chilena Guerrerense, Colas, Country-Western Schottische, El Ausente, El Bolonchon, El Huateque, El Jarabe Tapatío, El Limpia Sillas (Ranchera), El Mezquitón, El Naranjo, El Rascapetate, Evangelina, Guadalquiver, Guerrerense, Isas, Jarabe de la Botella, Jarabe Tapatio, Jarabe Michoacano, Jesusita en Chihuahua, Jota Criolla, La Adelita, La Bamba, La Bruja, La Capsula, La Chilena, La Danza de los Machetes, La Danza de los Viejitos, La Varsouvianna, La Jota Tapatia, Las Iguiris, Los Jorongos, Los Viejitos, Lucero de la Mañana, Mexican Mixer, Mosaico Mexicano, Pezinho, Polka Alegre, Ranchera, Santa Rita, Sonajeros, Tango Poquito, Teatro Principal, Ten Step Polka, Tiempos Aquellos, and Tilingo Lingo.

NEO NOTE:  HAPPY  100TH  BIRTHDAY, NELDA ! ! !  WE  LOVE  YOU  !  !  ! 

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THE LARGEST PLANE EVER  BUILT ? ? ?

BY DR. NEO GUTIERREZ
MARCH 2018

A news story broke recently re: the largest airplane ever built.  The reason:  the plane has a wing span larger than  the size of a football field !

However, detractors  question  the validity of the claim, for a simple reason:  there are planes built already with much larger, longer bodies than the new plane.Therefore, they claim the new plane is NOT the largest plane ever built.

At any rate,enjoy the news story and a series of terrific fotos of the new plane.

Click on the website below the foto of the plane:

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Subject: Re: CLICK ON WEBSITE BELOW —- ; LARGEST PLANE EVER BUILT

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A HAPPY VALENTINE FOR YOU : A SPECIAL JULIA VERA VIDEO

By Dr. Neo Gutierrez
February 2018

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A person one should be proud to know:  JULIA VERA !

I first met Julia when she was my dance student for one year when she was in the 9th grade and I taught at Christen Jr. High School in Laredo, Texas.

And here we are today, still connecting as friends.

Julia didn’t start her show biz career till age 47; she is now 75. Her list of accomplishments in Hollywood films and television are easily available if you search her name on the internet.

But the reason for spotlighting her here today is a video that was just made available, which is an interview she did for television recently. Click below and see if you don’t agree that is, indeed, a super human being and artist:

 

 

Subject: La gran actriz Julia Vera con una carrera muy exitosa en Hollywood – 

Let’s close with a note from Julia:

 

 

Dear Neo,

Sharing you with my latest adventures. Basketball season is here and I find myself running from one Recreational Park to another. Briseis is doing very well as an athelete. But the very exciting news to us is that Brolack 5 years of age and as you remember a heart transplante recipient is also playing basketball. He is the shortest of all his team mates but he plays with a lot of enthusiasm. Most of the time the games are at the same time and the same day. We have to split up. The family, that is .

As for me I have two projects cooking. We are in preproduction for a short film which we hope we can raise enough money to make it into a feature film. Also I am assisting a producer with a film from Madrid Spain. An actor from Spain, Jorge Munoz, has written a very good script . Its a horror film all in Spanish .
The Screen Actors Guild has a low budget film contract. We are looking to cast actors from the Union because most of them are very professional . This project is also in PreProduction. Sometimes it takes almost a year before principal shooting starts .

Most of last year I worked on Princess Elena of Avalor doing the voice for the animation character, Abuela Luisa. I thank God for this wonderful gig. This year Princess Elena will have its second film. I have already worked on it. Because I prepared my lines days before I go to record it usually takes me half an hour to record. For that half hour I get paid as it was an hour. The rate of pay is a little under a thousand dollars. 

A
lso last year I was flown to Atlanta Georgia to work on the new Marvel movie. Antman and the Wasp in the role of Michael Pena’s grandmother .The days I was there were beautiful . The weather was perfect . I stayed at the Georgian. Wow ! Elegant and beautiful hotel. Thanks to our Actor’s Union we are treated to the best : First Class flight and 5 Star Hotels. All expenses paid or we get a per diem . 

In January I was invited to The Dante Show in Anaheim, CA very close to Disney Land. I had been invited but I was kind of skeptical about myself bringing something interesting to the show. I am so glad I did it . It has been very well received and watch by many people. I am inclosing it so that you can share it in your column . 

Big surprise I met Norman Lear and he told me he had been stationed in Laredo when he was a pilot. How I met him I will leave for later .

Neo thank you for always being there for me and listening to my chit chat and also so encouraging me y darme animo .

Love you so much .

Julia Vera Andrews

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THOUGHTS FOR THE NEW YEAR AND SOME FUN ART TO MAKE YOU SMILE

THOUGHTS FOR THE NEW YEAR AND SOME FUN  ART TO MAKE YOU SMILE

BY DR. NEO GUTIERREZ
JANUARY 2018

Another January 1st, another Happy New Year to all !  !  !

Enclosed are some great thoughts by some great people, and some fun art to keep your day funny.  ENJOY ! ! !

PART   1       

  

Subject: THOUGHTS FOR THE NEW YEAR


Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right. 
 
— Oprah Winfrey
 

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Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.
 
— Charles R. Swindoll
 
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The secret of getting ahead is getting started. 
 
— Mark Twain
 
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Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to 
succeed is always to try just one more time. 
 
— Thomas A. Edison
 
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Well done is better than well said. 
 
— Benjamin Franklin
 
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You will never win if you never begin. 
 
— Helen Rowland
 
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A goal is a dream with a deadline. 
 
— Napoleon Hill
 
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Go for it now. The future is promised to no one. 
 
— Wayne Dyer
 
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 PART 2 — SOME  FUN  ART
  
HAPPY NEW YEAR FROM NEO G. IN L.A. ! ! !
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NOVEMBER 2017

‘Dancing With the Stars’ finale: Jordan Fisher, Lindsay Arnold take home Mirror Ball
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BY DR. NEO GUTIERREZ
Ever since “Dancing With the Stars” started 25 years ago, I have made it a point to select in my mind the winner, once the three finalists are revealed. And every year I have selected the winner correctly !
This year it was especially easy to select the winner, considering the background and incredible ability of the winner, Jordan Fisher, who is a professional Broadway musical dancer, most lately in the huge hit “Hamilton.”
NEO NOTE: CLICK BELOW :
FROM ABC NEWS, ACCORDING TO REPORTER ANDREA DRESDALE, NOV. 21, 2017 :

After a season full of perfect scores and gushing praise from the judges, singer and actor Jordan Fisher was named the champion of the 25th season of ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars” and tangoed off with the Mirror Ball Trophy. It was the first win for his pro partner, Lindsay Arnold.

Judge Len Goodman called Fisher “the most complete male celebrity ever on ‘Dancing With the Stars,'” and judgeBrunoTonioli said Fisher was “right up there with the best we have ever seen on this show.”

Violinist Lindsey Stirling came in second. Frankie Muniz — who called his time on the show “the most amazing experience of my life — came in third.

The finale featured the scored dances in the ballroom and many festive holiday numbers performed live outside at the Grove in Los Angeles. In between, the season’s other cast members returned to dance and, in some cases, sing.

The show began with each couple doing a favorite dance from earlier in the season. Stirling and her partner, Mark Ballas , performed their jive from guilty pleasures week and received 10s across the board. Muniz and his partner, Witney Carson, performed their pirate-themed Argentine tango from Disney week. They also received a score of 30. Fisher and Stirling performed their samba from Latin night, and they, too, earned 10s across the board.

With all the couples tied going into the final performances, fusions of two styles given to the competitors the night before. Sterling and Ballas performed a cha-cha-tango fusion and received a perfect score of 30. An emotional Sterling said the show “really made me relearn who I am in a really different way, and it’s been amazing.”

Muniz and Carson performed a foxtrot-tango fusion. Carrie Ann Inaba awarded the couple a 10, but Goodman and Tonioli found small faults in the performance and gave only 9s.

Fisher and Arnold performed a salsa-paso-doble fusion that was superfast and featured various gymnastic flips. The judges raved about the number, his talent and her skills as a choreographer, dancer and teacher and awarded the couple a score of 30.

The competitors’ final positions were revealed live onstage at the Grove, and Fisher and Arnold — and the Mirror Ball Trophy — were hoisted into the air as streamers shot everywhere and the crowd went wild. The three final couples and fourth-place finishers Drew Scott and Emma Slater will appear on ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Wednesday.

Also on the show, country star Kelsea Ballerini sang her latest hit, “Legends,” and season 25 competitor Nick Lachey sang a new ballad, “Someone to Dance With.” Stirling and Becky G performed their current holiday hit “ChristmasC’mon,” from Stirling’s album “Warmer in the Winter.” Fellow season 25 competitor Debbie Gibson sang the holiday favorite “Sleigh Ride,” and Jordan belted out Stevie Wonder‘s “What Christmas Means to Me.”

Fisher and Muniz will be headlining the upcoming “Dancing With the Stars: Light Up the Night” tour, which kicks off Dec. 30 in Charlotte, North Carolina.

“Dancing With the Stars” will return in the spring of 2018 with a special four-week all-athlete edition, featuring 10 athletes from across the sports world.

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THE 3 MOST IMPORTANT WORDS IN MY LIFE

BY DR. NEO GUTIERREZ

OCTOBER 2017

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All my life I have believed and lived by the three words featured in the important video listed below.

THIS IS THE BEST EMAIL I HAVE EVER RECEIVED IN MY ENTIRE LIFE……ENJOY ! ! !

RECIPE FOR LIFE :

If you have never seen this before, WATCH IT! If you have seen it before, WATCH IT AGAIN!

Please view it and let me know what you think at neodance@aol.com

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SEPT. 2017 INCDEF NEO NOTES MARK BALLAS BACK IN DWTS25

Mark Ballas
DWTS 25 Magnesium SHOW SCORES MONDAY, SEPT. 18, 2017 :
* Lindsey Stirling and Mark Ballas: This spunky violinist definitely struck a chord with the judges, earning a score of 22/30 — tying with Fisher and Arnold for the highest score.
NEO NOTE: MARK BALLAS is the grandson of Maria Luisa Marulanda Ballas, who started as a dance teacher in my hometown, Laredo, Texas, around 1948. She danced flamenco alone, and did comedic pachuco dance with her sister, Cata Marulanda. Many years later, when I went to teach a modern jazz dance workshop at Rogelio Rodriguez’s studio in Houston, Maria Luisa had, in my honor, a terrific dinner party at her Houston mansion. Parked in the back garden of the house was a helicopter. Her husband owned DANCE CITY U.S.A., the largest ballroom dance school in the entire U.S ! Eventually his son Corky Ballas took over the dance usiness. Corky is Mark Ballas’ father.
Competing for the Mirrorball trophy this time around are:
• Paralympic swimmer Victoria Arlen with Val Chmerkovskiy
• WWE wrestler Nikki Bella with Artem Chigvintsev
• “Shark Tank” entrepreneur Barbara Corcoran with Keo Motsepe
• former NBA player Derek Fisher with Sharna Burgess
•Singer/actor Jordan Fisher with Lindsay Arnold
• ’80s singer Debbie Gibson with Alan Bersten
• Singer Nick Lachey with Peta Murgatroyd
• TV personality Vanessa Lachey with Maksim Chmerkovskiy
• Actor Frankie Muniz with Witney Carson
• former NFL player Terrell Owens with Cheryl Burke
• “Pretty Little Liars” star Sasha Pieterse with Gleb Savchenko
• “Property Brothers” star Drew Scott with Emma Slater
• violinist Lindsey Stirling with Mark Ballas.
According to Wikipedia:

Mark Alexander Ballas Jr. (born May 24, 1986) is an American dancer, choreographer, singer-songwriter, musician, and actor.

Ballas is a professional ballroom dancer on the ABC program Dancing with the Stars. He began competing on the show in the fall of 2007. He was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Choreography in 2011. He is also a singer/songwriter/musician and released his first solo CDHurtLoveBox in March 2011.

Ballas was born in Houston, Texas, the son of dancers Corky Ballas andShirley Ballas(née Rich). His paternal grandparents were of Mexican,Spanish, and Greek background, and his mother is originally from the United Kingdom and is of English heritage.His paternal grandfather, George Ballas, was the inventor of the Weed Eaterlawn-trimming device.

Ballas is a member of singer-songwriter duo Alexander Jean[ along with his wife, BC Jean. The two became engaged in November 2015 after three years of dating, and were married on November 25, 2016 Malibu, California.

Ballas attended Rosemead Preparatory School in South London. At the age of 11, he earned a full-time slot at the Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts in London, as well as earning a full scholarship. In 2005, he was awarded “Performer of the Year”. He then moved on to win championships at The British Open to the World, The US Open to the World, and The International Open to the World. With his former partnerJulianne Hough, he won the Junior Latin American Dance Championship and the gold medal at the Junior Olympics.

As an actor, Ballas played the lead role of Tony in the musical Copacabana and was the lead dancer in the UK national tour of the Spanish musical Maria de Buenos Aires. He was also theunderstudy for the role of Ritchie Valens in the UK national tour ofBuddy, The Buddy Holly Story. Ballas played an extra in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone as part of the Hufflepuff House. In October 2008, Ballas made a guest appearance on the season premiere of Samantha Who.

On September 6, 2016, it was announced that Ballas would be the final actor to portray the role ofFrankie Valli in the Broadway cast ofJersey Boys before it closes in 2017.

NEO NOTE:  And now, Mark is back on American TV, for the duration of Dancing With the Stars  25, which airs on ABC-TV at  evening prime time on Monday and Tuesday.  ENJOY ! ! !
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