Younger dancers from visiting schools participate in the Dancing from the Heart event on Saturday

Younger dancers from visiting schools participate in the Dancing from the Heart event on Saturday

Dancing from the Heart raises more than $15K for charities

Stettler's annual dancing event fundraises for three local charities – STARS, Make A Wish and Hanna Youth Program.

After hectic rehearsals and rigorous practice days, dancers from seven different dance schools in Stettler and beyond came together to put on a magnificent show, which raised more than $15,000 for local charities, such as STARS, Make a Wish and the Hanna Youth program.

“This was our third season and was once again a success,” said main organizer and instructor of Danceology, Rhonda Gillrie. “Dancing from the Heart (DFTH) has started to fill a need for dancers to be able to show their talents, be adjudicated and improve in a professional yet fun environment with a secondary purpose of giving back to the community that they live in.”

When Gillrie heard that the medallions that dancers win at festivals end up in boxes somewhere at the back of their closet, Gillrie decided to do something different.

“I started seeing the need for people, both young and old to give back for a larger purpose than themselves and out of these thoughts, DFTH was born,” Gillrie explained. “Dancers and teachers need a friendly and enriching environment to display their talents, and what better way than this!”

At DFTH dancers are given “coins” that are deposited into piggy banks at the end of each session with each coin representing a mark the group has received, the higher the mark, the higher the monetary amount in the piggy bank.

“We raise money through the registration fees from the dancers themselves just like any another competition or festival, but we also receive donations from Stettler businesses, and our dance families too,” Gillrie added. “Money raised goes to rent the facility, custodial fees, adjudicators’ fees and various other expenses we incur.”

Wm. E. Hay staff Mr. Fleishacker and his fine arts team prepared video and photos this year, while Mr. Ho and his food team offering the cafeteria for those in attendance.

“It is of utmost importance that every dancer feels wanted, and special for sharing their talents and joy with us,” Gillrie stated. “Every teacher must feel validated and respected. This festival feeling is among us from the time to we begin conceptualizing this to moments after it ends.”

Danceology will be donating their cheque to STARS and because of their efforts they have been invited to visit the Calgary STARS offices to go through the flight simulator and have their photo taken with a helicopter.

“Festivals like these are important to me, because we are growing a community of dancers,” Gillrie added. “A huge shout out to each and everyone who helped us put this together, thank you to all our dance parents and all those who attended and supported the event. Without you this wouldn’t happen.”