Alhambra's Lai Lai Ballroom celebrates AAPI Month with free dance event

Alhambra’s Lai Lai Ballroom celebrated Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month with a free community dance event on Saturday.

The Alhambra ballroom is where the gunman responsible for killing 11 people in a nearby Monterey Park dance hall, was disarmed by 26-year-old Brandon Tsay on Jan. 21.

Saturday’s event celebrated the resilience of a community amid tragedy while also honoring the diversity and courage of Alhambra and Monterey Park.

Co-hosted by the Tsay Family and Asian Americans Advancing Justice Southern California, the free event featured live performances, dancing, kids’ activities, refreshments, a DJ and more.

“I really think that this event here today is to rekindle the joys and the festivities of dance culture,” said Brandon Tsay, whose family operates the Lai Lai Ballroom and Studio.

Tsay welcomed crowds to the ballroom on Saturday for a festive afternoon.

“They don’t want Lai Lai Studio to only be remembered for tragedy,” said Connie Chung Joe, CEO of AJSOCAL. “They want to remember the celebration, the beauty of ballroom dance and the strength of our community.”

“I think that healing takes various steps,” said Tsay. “It’s very subjective to the person that’s trying to heal.”

Alhambra’s Lai Lai Ballroom and Studio celebrated Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month with a free community dance event on May 20. 2023. (KTLA)

Through dance, song and togetherness, the event aims to help those who are still grieving the Jan. 11 mass shooting.

“It’s an uplifting event that focuses on our community and our strength, not dwelling on the tragedy and the sadness and the grief that it brought all of us,” said Chung Joe.

“We’re such a resilient community,” said Alhambra Mayor, Adele Andrade-Stadler. “And for the entire San Gabriel Valley, I think it takes all of us, it takes a village to really connect with each other, to ensure that we’re looking out for each other constantly.”

Tsay’s advice for anyone who may be struggling: “Don’t be afraid to seek out help with services in our community.”

Tsay was also honored by L.A. County on Saturday for his bravery. The Brandon Tsay Hero Fund was established with the goal of making mental health resources accessible to those who may need them.

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