Over 600 people, including students, staff, family, faculty, and community members, gathered at the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre this past Sunday night to witness Brock Dance performers take the stage for their eighth annual Benefit Show for RAFT Niagara.
RAFT Niagara supports thousands of underprivileged and homeless youth throughout the Niagara region by providing support services, programs, and resources. The primary objective of RAFT Niagara is to assist youth in becoming self-sufficient and independent individuals.
Brock Dance donates all proceeds from their Benefit Show to RAFT Niagara in order to help support the community’s youth at risk.
“We have been one of the RAFT’s biggest sponsors for eight years now,” said Olivia Pilot, Vice President of Brock Dance. “Having them at our show is always such an amazing experience, they love it and we love it.”
“Personally, I am in the Concurrent Education program, so I have a passion for the work they do in the community for these children,” said Pilot.
The members of Brock Dance spent many long hours preparing and practicing for the show to make sure that they gave the audience an exceptional performance.
“Preparing for the event is always stressful, but the feeling of actually being on stage and the feedback we’ve been receiving truly makes the whole process worth it,” said Pilot. “I have not stopped smiling [since the show ended].”
Regarding the preparation of the tasks ahead of time and the night of the show, Ashley Hainer, President of Brock Dance, shared the following with The Brock Press.
“The executive team was very organized and Rob, who was the Stage Manager, was amazing to work with,” said Hainer. “His team made sure our night was successful.”
The show, which was in the evening, treated the audience to a variety of dance styles and performances including the Brock Dance competitive team, special guests from local dance studios, as well as dance teams from surrounding areas. Each performance was met by a loud and cheerful applause from the audience.
The local clubs and studios that were present at the performance were Live4Dance, Roots, Humber Dance Company, Broadway Lights, Niagara Academy for the Performing Arts (NAPA), and Miss Kathie’s Just Dance Academy (MKJDA).
“The other clubs and studios that participated were very organized and on top of everything,” said Hainer. “I can confidently say that this is one of our most successful benefit shows so far.”
More so, the audience was full of Brock spirit as the crowd was filled with a variety of students from different clubs, programs, teams and organizations, including the Brock men’s basketball team and BUSU executives.
“I finally decided to join the team in my fourth year and I am so glad I did,” said Samantha Price, reflecting on her first year as a member of Brock Dance. “It was a fun experience dancing with my team at the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre, it truly is a beautiful theatre. I also really enjoy that the proceeds go to such a great cause, it’s amazing to be a part of that.”
“The Benefit Show is an important event for us because it’s a way that Brock Dance as a club can get involved and give back to the community,” said Jenna Lee, the Director of Recreation for Brock Dance. “RAFT is an amazing organization and we are proud to continue to support them.”