Malibu Pacific Church’s love letter to Malibu: Parent-child dances delight

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Fathers and daughters took to the dance floor on Feb. 10 during the during the father-daughter dance at Malibu Pacific Church. Photo by Devon Meyers

Over 200 attendees enjoyed the mother-son dance and 425 attended the father-daughter dance this year 

By Barbara Burke

Special to The Malibu Times

“It’s my 22nd year attending the father-daughter dance,” said Domenic Mastrippolito as he proudly accompanied his 13-year-old daughter Xue, the youngest of his five daughters, to Malibu Pacific Church’s annual father-daughter dance on Feb. 10. “It’s been a great night every year for every one of my daughters and the dances are always cherished.”

As the sun gently set below the horizon, the Mastrippolitos paused at the entrance of the event venue, smiling broadly as they viewed the elaborate, beautiful setting, flush with tables formally decorated with delicate rose centerpieces and a dance floor that beckoned all attendees to join in the fun. Wow! What a wonderful place to hold such a special occasion.

But first a magic show and other activities! Arcades, face painting, photo booths, arts and crafts, popcorn, cotton candy — all were there to enjoy. 

The church was full of attendees viewing a magic show with rapt attention. 

“How did he do that?” A little one wondered aloud, as Luigi the Magician fascinated the audience with his mysterious, entertaining tricks and juggling act.

Outside in the foyer, little Ciel Grundman, 6, and her sister, Soleil, 4, basked in their doting dad Paul’s TLC.  Two delighted little girls with their daddy out on the town, they smiled and giggled as they thoroughly enjoyed their cotton candy.

“This event is the perfect start to the new year,” Paul said. “It’s heartwarming and something we have all needed. It’s great to see all the fathers and daughters from the community, it’s as if we were throwing a birthday party for the town.”

The band began to play and debonair daddies wearing formal suits soon accompanied their dazzling daughters onto the dance floor. They twirled and twirled and danced and danced! The little girls’ glitter shoes tapped to the rhythm and their tiaras and fancy dresses swayed with the beat. Above, disco balls shot rays of multi-color lights and one of the musicians circled the group blowing bubbles as the group began to form a train.

“Let me hear you sing!” The DJ admonished. “Move two steps to the right, now backwards, not three steps to the left.” 

Large feet in formal shoes juxtaposed with tiny ballet shoes and Mary Janes maneuvered on the floor in unison as the dads and daughters joyously danced.  Their singing and giggles filled the space, creating that rare, awe-inspiring sense that one delightedly enjoys as he realizes that such magical moments are making magical memories.  

“This is an amazing event that has turned into a special family tradition with my two girls,” John Alfano said. “We are going on year 5 with many more to come.”  

The inaugural mother-son dance was also a spectacular success.

“Joel Dunn and Shannon Dunn are involved in the community and they shared that all the moms at Little League wanted a mother-son event,” Pastor Andy VomSteeg said. “The event was a huge hit and the moms were saying ‘this is our date!’ and they were talking about dancing with their sons.” 

Smiling as she surveyed the event, Shannon Dunn reported that the inaugural mother-son dance that debuted on Feb. 9 was a huge hit. 

“We volunteers say that these dances are our love letter to Malibu,” she said. “We love this city and we wanted to put on something special again this year.” 

Sons of all ages accompanied their mothers, Dunn said, adding, “I brought my 11-month old son, Paxton. He loved all the music!” 

The annual event was superbly well attended as it is every year. According to VomSteeg, 213 attendees enjoyed the mother-son dance and 425 attended the father-daughter dance.

Expressing sentiments shared by many attendees, little Sienna Malibu Amini said, “I was so happy to be with my daddy at the dance and to have so, so much fun with him and many of my friends. We can’t wait for next year’s dance!”