Brock Dance thrills crowd with benefit show

Brock Dance organized and hosted their sixth annual charitable dance benefit on Jan. 31 in order to raise money for Niagara’s RAFT program.

The benefit was held at the First Ontario Performing Arts Centre in downtown St. Catharines. The evening began with youth from the RAFT program experiencing the “red carpet” treatment and being greeted by members of the Niagara River Lions basketball team upon arrival.

Brock Dance opened the show to a sold out crowd of students and community members. The audience was treated to various dance styles such as Bollywood, hip-hop, tap and contemporary. Since there were such diverse groups performing, the choreography ranged greatly from more somber solo performances to racy hip-hop numbers which garnered loud reactions from the crowd. The performers were met by thunderous applause after each routine.

“In terms of the show we really want to show to the kids our passion for dance. Also giving back to the community is something we strive to do,” said Krystal Morgan, Co-president of Brock Dance.

Fellow Co-president Maddy DeLuca, added, “Showing them that dance can be an outlet and opening their eyes to seeing something new that they haven’t been exposed to before can change their lives.”
After 43 performances the show came to an epic ending with Brock Dance performing their signature confetti-fueled hip-hop routine. Overall, this show was the largest and most successful in years, according to Mikaela Kelloway, a member of the club.

The dance performers were all skillfully executed / Reece Fisher

The dance performers were all skillfully executed / Reece Fisher

“All of the Brock Dance executives and dancers’ hard work contributed to making this the best benefit the Brock Dance has ever hosted. Hosting at the new theatre was a perk and the house was filled, so we couldn’t be happier,” said Stephanie Bilotta, the Brock Dance Social Coordinator.

Not only did the benefit bring together the Niagara community but it also brought together the Brock community at large. Representatives from BUSU, BUSAC, Brock Athletics, BrockTV, as well as friends from other universities were all in attendance.

Mike Speers, a Laurier student made a special trip from Waterloo to support his girlfriend who was performing in the show.

“All ages and types of people are here and it feels like a real community event. I’ve never been to anything like this at Laurier,” said Speers.

This is the fourth year in a row that Brock Dance will be donating the proceeds from their benefit to the RAFT Niagara, a charitable organization dedicated to supporting Niagara’s underprivileged and homeless youth.

“[RAFT] calls us their biggest sponsor,” said DeLuca.

In addition to advocating and raising money for such a noble organization, Brock Dance also reached out to various dance studios and one high school in the Niagara community to join in the effort and perform their routines at the benefit. Some studios that were showcased at the benefit included Creative Dance Company, Broadway Lights, Ballet Etc, Niagara Dance Academy, Rhythm Plus Dance Company, EDC Dancers INC and Rhythm2Dance.

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“I’ve danced in competitions before ,but tonight was really fun,” said Shelby Tays, a nine-year old performer from the Creative Dance studio.

This year, the club is experiencing one of its most successful years of expansion as their growing relationship with Brock’s athletics department has afforded several opportunities to perform at sporting events. These events have garnered the club support and publicity as they have performed at Brock’s Hype Night, the half-time show for a Niagara River Lions basketball game and Brock’s historic basketball home opener game in the Meridian Centre. Now the club boasts a total of 287 members and has been running for over ten years.

On campus, Brock Dance holds 30 classes a week that vary widely in genre and level. The club focuses on both the recreational and competitive sides of dance.

To get in contact with Brock Dance for more information, email them at brockdance@hotmail.com

Nicholas Blasiak
Assistant Campus News Editor

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