Nhan was known affectionately to her loved ones as “Mymy.” Fonda Quan grew up in the same home as her aunt, along with her parents and grandmother.
Nhan grew up in Ho Chi Minh City and emigrated to Rosemead with her family in the 1980s. She had an infectious cheerfulness and an eagerness to celebrate the wins of those in her wide circle of friends, Quan said.
For years, she and her aunt took classes at the Star studio. On Saturday, Nhan was leaving the studio early to get home so she could put together a family shrine to pay homage to ancestors for Lunar New Year, according to Quan.
Just as she was leaving with her partner, the shooter arrived and fired into their car, according to an account relayed to Nhan’s family by the partner.
“She spent so many years going to the dance studio in Monterey Park on weekends,” her family said in a statement on Twitter. “It’s what she loved to do. But unfairly, Saturday was her last dance.”
One of Nhan’s longtime instructors, Maksym Kapitanchuk, said her presence breathed life into both the Star Ballroom Dance Studio and Lai Lai Ballroom & Studio in Alhambra, where the shooter went after gunning down the Monterey Park victims.
“Dance was her life,” he said, adding that she attended classes every night of the week. “She was just the light of the class and the light of the studio.”
Those who knew her as a regular at social dances knew that Nhan would sit next to the stereo system. She sipped tea in between bouts of samba or tango, dance instructor Elena Krifuks said.
“She had everyone’s phone numbers,” Krifuks said, “and she was friends with everyone.”