Danceforit for Special Needs
5 April 2011
Pam Eddleston reports from Canada
While conducting a course on the revised Tap syllabus and Jazz awards in Whitby, Ontario, Canada I was invited to a fundraising concert. The hosts of the course, Wayne and Alison Henry of Traditions Academy of Dance, are strong supporters of this annual event and had prepared groups for the concert.
What a delightful experience! The organisation Danceforit holds an event each year for a special charity, this year it was in support of Windreach Farm Foundation For Special Needs. The venue, Windreach Farm, is situated in the beautiful rolling countryside north of Oshawa; the theme Denim and Diamonds; the atmosphere happy and relaxed on a gorgeous hot summer evening. Many Canadian celebrities were present to support the event and contribute their time and talents to this worthy cause. Finalists from So You Think You Can Dance Canada mingled with families, young performers and enthusiasts. Everett Smith, finalist and holder of the title, ‘the best tap dancer in Canada,’ treated the audience to a superb sample of his talent, donning his Tap shoes and dancing acappela. Many studios and performing arts colleges from the area featured interesting choreography with strong, talented young dancers and musicians... what an influence the various TV dance competitions have had on the industry.
But the hit of the show without doubt was a number performed by the special needs class of Traditions Academy of Dance. The four young ladies thoroughly enjoyed the experience and rapturously responded to the audience clapping, singing and dancing along with them. It brought many to tears. This special class currently has 10 students and is run by RAD examiner and teacher at the school Wendy Holt.
One of the founders of Danceforit, Kerry Brough, is also a teacher at the school. She cares passionately about the value of dance in society and works hard to involve young dancers in worthy causes.
It was a joyous evening. Thank you to all for the opportunity to participate. I leave you with a quote from the opening programme notes: “We are blessed to be in an industry that encourages us to hope, dream, believe and never ever give up. That everyone in our audience shares the STAGE with us. That it becomes a PRODUCTION of life. Our world is about sharing that journey.”