Dance all day, help support the School at City Arts
By: Terry Rader
Dance Project’s The School at City Arts is proud to sponsor their third annual Dance Marathon at the Van Dyke Performance Space and LeBauer Park in Greensboro on March 30 from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Everyone is invited to watch or participate in a full day of classes, performances, prize drawings, dance relays and more, said Dance Project’s communications and development assistant Grace Stamper.
Dance Project’s executive director Lauren Joyner said that this yearly dance marathon gives them a chance to raise awareness for the 501(c)(3) nonprofit school of dance. Their goal this year is to raise $10,000 to help support The School at City Arts’ 2019 classes and programming to continue their mission to make dance as assessable as possible to everyone in the community.
Joyner said that the dance marathon has a suggested donation of $10 per hour to dance, and includes classes and performances throughout the day, but they don’t turn anyone away as they feel it is important to build a community around dance. Joyner said that while approximately 300 people are expected to attend throughout the day, there is usually a solid group of 30 people and students who spend the entire day having fun.
For the marathon, Stamper said that participants could sign up online to challenge the staff with headstands and dance moves or create their own team. She said that teams are asked to raise $500 through sponsorships via businesses, family, friends, schools and even those not on a team may participate in the fundraising by donating directly online to support a specific team.
The Dance Project’s dance marathon classes are intergenerational and open- level. Stamper said that the morning classes are most popular for ages 3-7. Dancers are welcome to join in a morning warm-up with breakfast followed by open dance time.
Morning dance classes include Intergenerational Creative Dance Class and an Irish Dance Class with Dylan Reddish. Morning performances will include Mel and Victoria Paterline, Dance Project Junior and Teen Performance Companies, and more.
Joyner said that one of the most exciting parts of the day is the dance battle class and that she encourages participants to bring their inner warrior to LeBauer Park where afternoon classes will be held (or in The Van Dyke Performance Space if it rains) after lunch.
This year’s Dance Marathon will also include a Capoeira class taught by Rose Sunila. Joyner said despite the martial arts aspect, this class is open to everyone of all skill levels. The Spartan G’s will also perform in the afternoon with Katherine Damman, and Dom Sebastian from The BBoy Ballet will host a Lipsync Battle.
The evening will include pizza and a high-energy dance party with performances from the Burlington Academy of Dance & Arts, Dance Project’s Junior and Teen Performance Companies, Lauryn Eckman, and The BBoy Ballet, before the grand finale.
“The most magical part of the dance marathon day is to see our community come together with all ages, all races, and all dance levels with all classes open to everyone while we get to encourage and cultivate dance by training dancers, educating and brewing up creativity,” Joyner said. “I continue to be inspired by our city’s Greensboro Cultural Arts Master Plan.”
This year’s Dance Marathon sponsors include Sinfield Technologies; GSO Cultural Center; GSO Downtown Parks, Inc.; the Van Dyke Performance Space; and Downtown GSO, Inc. along with several local merchants who provided food and prizes for the drawings.
Joyner also teaches dance and credits her mentor Jan Van Dyke, who founded Dance Project in North Carolina in the early 1980s while teaching at UNCG, as a force and a pioneer for modern dance in North Carolina. Joyner said since her passing four years ago, it is a joy and an honor to carry on her legacy.
Joyner said that Dance Project strives to keep their dance class prices below market cost, offer scholarships to students, conduct outreach projects, continue to partner with Doris Henderson’s Newcomers School, and is beginning to coordinate their 29th season of the NC Dance Festival.
“Dance Project’s The School at City Arts is a great way for students to release energy and express themselves outside of their school and home. Parents can come and observe classes, too,” Stamper said. “Our April 1-6 Parent’s Observation Week is a good time to visit and see what our classes look like. We always keep our blinds open, so the classes are always visible. We also recently started offering online deals and promotions for our adult level classes within the last few months.”
TERRY RADER is a freelance writer, storyteller, poet, singer/songwriter, wellness herbalist and owner, Paws n’ Peace o’ Mind cat/dog/house sitting.
March 30, 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Dance Marathon, Van Dyke Performance Space, 200 N. Davie St., and LeBauer Park, 208 N. Davie St. April 1-6, Parent Observation Week, Greensboro Cultural Center, 200 N. Davie St., Ste. 321