A worldwide dance celebration in May has found a Stettler connection.
Celebrated annually on the second Saturday of May in conjunction with World Belly Dance Day, the Shimmy Mob brings community awareness to the issues of emotional abuse and domestic violence.
Participants registered, collected pledges, then came together on May 13 to form a “flash mob” which danced its way from Carl Stettler Park down to the No Frill’s parking lot.
While only six people were registered for the event, several others joined the group on the day of.
Registration was open until the end of March, at which point the team leader, Tina Wilson, received the shirts and the choreography for one specific dance that was to be done the day of the event.
“One point we live-streamed,” said Judilonne Beebe, one of the organizers and coordinator at Stettler Society for the Prevention of Family Violence.
“We danced along with the other teams. The same teams, same dance, same T-shirt.”
The Stettler team practised the dance once a week until the day of the event.
According to Beebe, over $1,000 was raised through the fundraiser.
The 2023 Shimmy Mob was the seventh year for the Stettler event, although the national event has been running since 2011.
Only two teams were formed in Alberta in 2023; Stettler and Black Diamond both put together Shimmy Mob teams.
Fifteen teams across Canada took part in the 2023 Shimmy Mob, all with the same goal, bringing awareness surrounding domestic violence and emotional abuse and the different organizations that support victims.
In Stettler, funds raised go towards the expansion of men’s and women’s support groups operated out of the Stettler Family and Community Support Services (FCSS) building by the Stettler Society for the Prevention of Family Violence.
“Funds are more stretched,” said Beebe.
“There’s already waiting lists for the fall.”
The coping and anger-management support groups run in two sessions; the first session is from September until Christmas, and the second is from March until June.
“Anger is part of what we do,” said Beebe. “But it’s much broader than that. We look at healthy and unhealthy relationships. There are lots of unhealthy things that are not abusive.”
Another thing the society is using the funds for is helping individuals plan when they intend to leave an abusive situation.
“Planning is very important,” said Beebe.
“It’s most dangerous when they leave an abusive relationship.”
For more information about the Shimmy Mob, check out www.shimmymob.com. For more information on the Stettler Society for the Prevention of Family Violence, check out its Facebook page.
Planning is already underway for a fall Shimmy Mob event, scheduled to take place on Sept. 30!
–Editor’s note: This story was updated to correct that Black Diamond, not Edmonton, was the other Alberta team, as initially noted.