Dancers with a Purpose will perform for Haiti
Three years ago, the directors of Dance Tech discussed different ways to utilize their dancers’ talents in different ways other than competing in dance competitions.
Instead of putting together a holiday concert, they chose to produce an annual show where all the proceeds benefit a nonprofit organization, according to studio director and owner Nicole Fielding.
"We’re a competition studio and our dancers are international winners, but we wanted to give them a different outlet for them to directly benefit a group or individuals who need help," Fielding told The Park Record. "So we created Dancers with a Purpose."
Dancers with a Purpose will present its third annual benefit concert on Thursday, Feb. 26. The show will be held at the Ecker Hill Middle School auditorium and begin at 6:30 p.m.
Admission is $10. All proceeds will benefit the international nonprofit organization, Foundations of Home, which works with an orphanage in Haiti.
In the past, Dancers with a Purpose has performed concert fundraisers for the National Ability Center, an organization that provides affordable outdoor recreational experiences for people of all ages and abilities, and Peace House, a nonprofit dedicated to wiping out domestic violence in Summit and Wasatch counties.
Fielding heard about Foundations of Home during a dance convention last October.
"I had a discussion with Natalie Keys, the owner of a popular dance clothing line called Funkeys, and she explained how all of the money from the sales she made at the convention would go to help Foundations of Home," Fielding said. "She told me about how she and other dancers have traveled back and forth from Haiti to do fundraising and service projects for orphanages there."
Keys talked about her first-hand experiences and needs of the kids who are in these facilities, according to Fielding.
"She also told me how passionate she was about her program and how rewarding it was to help over there," Fielding said. "I wanted to look into this and after I researched it I liked what Foundations of Home was doing."
Through her research, Fielding met with Shae Goodwin, the founder and director of Foundations of Home, who showed her some videos she had taken on past service trips.
"She explained the dire needs of these orphanages and told me about the trials these kids go through," Fielding said.
Among those were a recent ringworm outbreak and lack of formula for infants.
"I also saw babies suffering because they had nothing to eat and some of these babies died from malnutrition," Fielding said.
In addition to medicine and formula, the orphanages themselves are in dire need of repair.
"Just as an example, there are live electrical wiring hanging where the kids take their showers," Fielding explained. "The needs of these kids and the orphanage are basic, but they are in a life or death situations."
Furthermore, the orphanages need funds to help support the children who are living in them.
"I found that when the children in the orphanage turn 14 and aren’t adopted, they time out of the program and have to leave," Fielding said. "In a sense, they are basically turned over to the streets. And if they don’t have any education or skills to be able to sustain themselves, these kids are lost.
"That’s what really got to me," she said. "It’s like these kids are unwanted and everyone just gives up on them."
Last week, Fielding shared an emotional experience and explained to her dancers what Foundations of Home does just before a rehearsal.
"I shared what I had seen to the dancers and one of them said, ‘I feel so bad. What else can we do to help them?’" Fielding said. "I told them, this is what you can do to help them. They didn’t realize that just dancing in this concert would directly have an effect on this orphanage and that was a big turning point for them."
Thursday’s Dancers with a Purpose production will feature Dance Tech Studio companies, comprised of both girls and boys, ages 3 to 18.
"There will be 24 numbers that feature everything from classical ballet to hip-hop to tap and everything in between," Fielding said.
While the concert will help children in Haiti, it is also designed to help the dancers as well.
"Another reason why we felt this was an important venture was to help the kids see beyond themselves," Fielding explained. "Society has become very self-absorbed. So for these kids to realize at an early age that there is need outside of themselves and to be aware of the world around them was important for us.
"They can see that their passion for dance and their heard work and dedication in performing helps other people," she said. "In our small Park City community, there are many opportunities for them to be a good influence in the world."
Dance Tech Studios’ Dancers with a Purpose will present a benefit concert for Foundations of Home at the Ecker Hill Middle School auditorium, 2465 Kilby Road, on Thursday, Feb. 26, at 6:30 p.m. Admission is $10 at the door. For more information, visit http://www.dancetechworld.com . For more information about Foundations of Home, visit http://www.foundationsofhome.org.
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Fans of “Sudan and Me,” a musical written, produced and performed in Park City, can now purchase an album of the production’s songs.