Just amazing ‘Zest’ for life

Huell Howser and Christian Perry help celebrate Pasadena Senior Center’s 50th birthday

By Justin Chapman, Pasadena Weekly, 10/7/2010

TV personality Huell Howser and dancer Christian Perry, no strangers to Pasadena, are teaming up Sunday for “Zest! 10-10-10,” 
a fundraising gala celebrating the Pasadena Senior Center’s 50th anniversary.
Howser, host of KCET’s “California’s Gold,” will guest emcee the catered event, which will be held at a private home in San Marino.
Perry, a choreographer on FOX’s “Dancing with the Stars,” founded his own dance studio, Rose City Ballroom, in Old Pasadena soon after his staff members and students performed the opening number at the 2009 Rose Parade.
Today, Perry teaches traditional and contemporary styles of partner dance, including ballroom, Latin, swing, salsa and tango, at his 3,600-square-foot studio.
About 300 people are expected to attend “Zest! 10-10-10,” with $175 tickets available by calling or emailing the Senior Center. 
Catered by Peggy Dark and The Kitchen for Exploring Foods, the event also features a live auction with vacations and art as prizes. Cocktails and Mariachi music are being provided by Abel Ramirez, owner of El Portal Restaurant. Longtime community leader Maggie Jagels will also be honored for her years of dedication to the center, the first of its kind in Greater Los Angeles, serving as an independent nonprofit center financed through membership fees, public sector funding and private and business support. Art Deco and His Society Orchestra will perform dance tunes of the past 50 years throughout the evening.
“We do wonderful programs and serve 10,000 seniors in the Pasadena area with a variety of things,” said Pam Kaye, the center’s development assistant. “We look forward to raising money to continue our classes and fitness centers and reassurance calls so the ‘zest for life’ in our lives continues.
“What makes the senior center so special,” Kaye continued, “is the variety of opportunities, training, celebrations, senior curriculum and events that we hold for our seniors that keep them active and healthy. We are a major community resource.”
So why choose Howser, who could not be reached to comment for this story, as host? “Huell is a remarkable gentleman who points out all the wonderful aspects of our unique state,” said Kaye. “He’s been a wonderful enthusiastic participant and supporter of the center.”
“We’re going to do a great performance for them,” said Perry, who choreographs TLC’s “Ballroom Bootcamp” and has danced in everything from an award-winning GAP commercial to movies such as “Mona Lisa Smile,” “Be Cool” and “Meet Dave.” 
“We’ve been working with the center for a year now,” Perry said. “Every Monday we teach a class there and we get a great response from that. It’s great to get the seniors moving. They’ve been great advocates for us, so when they asked us to perform at their anniversary gala, we didn’t hesitate.”
As Kaye points out, “Our seniors love to dance.” 

Tickets for the gala are $175. All proceeds will benefit the Pasadena Senior Center. For more information or to RSVP, contact Pam Kaye at pamk@pasadenaseniorcenter.org. The Pasadena Senior Center is at 85 E. Holly St., Pasadena. Call (626) 795-4331.