by Kelli Samson for OLY ARTS
Olympia’s Studio West Dance Theatre and Guild provide an enchanting opportunity each year for the community to enjoy an evening of fine food and dance. All proceeds from the annual Dance to Make a Difference gala go to a local charity. Now in its ninth year, the gala’s chosen nonprofit for this month’s event is the Family Support Center of South Sound. FSCSS offers parenting classes and support for the area’s low-income and homeless families. The SWDG has worked tirelessly for the past year to foster a bond between FSCSS and its own dancers and families.
“Meeting the families benefiting from their services has changed me,” explains Loanne Dang, parent of dancer Lani Dang. “DTMAD connects arts supporters like me to local charities, and it brought the needs of the community to my doorstep. Our young dancers volunteer through the program, and my hope is that we are planting the seeds of community service.”
Adds dancer Aly Cadoo, “There is something very fulfilling in volunteering. You know that you can make a difference, even if it’s small, in someone else’s life.”
Numerous dance companies across the South Sound will perform at the event. Studio West is privileged to have the choreographic talents of Jerome and Laura Tisserand, principal dancers with Pacific Northwest Ballet and guest teachers in residence. “SWDT dancers will perform the premier of Laura and Jerome’s newly choreographed work, ‘An Afternoon Waltz,’” shares Stephanie Wood-Ennett, co-director of SWDT. “For our students to receive firsthand training from artists who have been immersed in the Balanchine style at such a high level for so many years is a valuable opportunity in their dance education.”
Dancer Cole McMason is performing in the piece ‘Not With Haste.’ “I remember watching the older kids rehearse this in 2013, and I knew I wanted to do it,” he says. “Actually getting to do it is absolutely a dream come true.”
The evening’s reception sponsors are Abby’s Cookies & Cupcakes of Olympia and Joanie’s Catering of Seattle. A silent auction will occur during the intermission, followed by the dance performances.
What: Dance to Make a Difference Charity Gala
Where: Kenneth J Minnaert Center for the Performing Arts, SPSCC,
2011 Mottman Rd. SW, Olympia
When: 6 p.m. gala, 8 p.m. performance, Saturday, March 11
How much: $15-$40
Learn more: 360-956-9378 | SWDT