Community Dance Team Gains New Sponsor

Community Dance Team Gains New Sponsor
Pictured are members of the Chiqlets Dance Team accepting a $1,000 donation from their new sponsor, Sandy Jamison. Team leader Chiquy Mejia is sitting in the front row, directly in front of the check. Contributed photo.

Success of Chiqlets Dance Team Fulfills Founder's Longtime Dream

Nearly a decade after local dance instructor Chiquy Mejia achieved her dream by creating and leading Morgan Hill’s Chiqlets Dance Team, the group recently secured a corporate sponsor who will help pay for team supplies and equipment. 

Chiqlets members and instructors have announced that Bob and Sandy Jamison, of Tuscana Properties, will help the team purchase team jackets and performance clothing for all members. Sandy Jamison is the founder of Tuscana Properties, which is based in San Jose. 

Born in Caracas, Venezuela, Mejia has been dancing since her mother enrolled her in classes when she was 6 years old, says a press release from Chiqlets member and instructor Linda Allivato. By age 15, Mejia had developed a keen sense for the variety of Latin and American dance steps. By age 17, she was hired as a choreographer in a clown company to create dances for children’s songs. “She loved it so much that her dream was to someday have her own dance group,” says the press release. 

Mejia later immigrated to San Jose in search of better opportunities, and became a U.S. citizen in 2005. 

In November 2011, Mejia decided to become a Zumba instructor. She found Zumba to be an outlet to develop her passion and love for dancing all the Latin rhythms she learned as a child—including Salsa, Cha-Cha, Merengue, Cumbia, Reggaeton, Samba and others. 

Mejia, who enjoys seeing her students have fun while dancing and exercising, began teaching Zumba Fitness classes at the Morgan Hill Library in 2012. The class quickly grew to more than 20 regular students every week, and soon started participating in Zumba events throughout the South Bay. 

“Her students discovered Zumba provided a great opportunity to burn calories while having fun, at the same time making them feel better about themselves,” says the press release. 

The Chiqlets team’s mission statement is “to make a positive impact in the lives of people seeking to experience dancing like no one is watching by encouraging team spirit, respect and an inclusive atmosphere for all,” says the press release. “Our core values are integrity, compassion, understanding and acceptance.”

Interest in the Chiqlets continued to grow during the first year of the Covid-19 pandemic, despite widespread restrictions on gathering indoors. Mejia connected all her Zumba students through Zoom, and taught six free weekly classes to keep the dancers engaged. 

“It was during Covid that the Chiqlets Dance Team became stronger, and members became closer to each other,” says the press release. 

In March 2021, Chiqlets began meeting again in person outdoors; and in June 2022, Mejia began teaching Zumba classes again outside the library. 

The Morgan Hill Library offers the Zumba classes for free. For Mejia, the classes help her provide for her family in Venezuela, and allow her to teach moves that “create positive attitudes and energy at community events.”

And the Chiqlets have become a fixture in the local community, having performed at the July 3 Street Dance, Morgan Hill International Celebration and the Magical Bridge Playground grand opening. 

“Building and leading the Chiqlets Dance Team for the last 10 years has been an amazing experience,” Mejia said. “Seeing all my students dancing and performing without feeling judged results in an incredible feeling of love for themselves. The Chiqlets Dance Team has been and will always continue to be an outlet for those who want to be a part of a dance family.”

The Chiqlets Dance Team is seeking additional local sponsors to help support their performance goals, the press release adds. 

The team also has a busy performance schedule over the next few weeks, including the following events: 3-6pm Dec. 17 holiday party at the Magical Bridge Playground; 7pm Feb. 11, 2023, Friendship and Love Party at 88 Keys; and 6-9pm April 21, 2023, 50+ Ball at the Morgan Hill Community and Cultural Center. 

The Chiqlets continue to meet every Monday at 6pm outside the Morgan Hill Library, 660 West Main Ave. 

Anyone seeking more information or interested in becoming a sponsor can reach Chiquy Mejia at [email protected] or 408.427.1068.

The Chiqlets Dance Team is a community of South Bay dancers from different cultural backgrounds of all ages, genders and dance skills,” Allivato said. “All are welcome and no one is ever turned away.”

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