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Creative Steps will 'Dance to Heal, Dance to Help'

Creative Steps tap dancers rehearse for this weekend’s performance. Meghan Siegler. (click for larger version)
February 10, 2010
TILTON — Taking a short break from the upcoming competition season, Creative Steps dancers are focusing their energies on a series of fundraising events for Haitian relief, culminating in a benefit performance that includes competition routines as well as new dances choreographed especially for the evening.

Dance to Heal, Dance to Help is the dance school's response to the Jan. 12 earthquake in Haiti. Creative Steps owner Sue Harrington said that after hearing news of the destruction and devastation, the dancers "were all expressing feelings about it" and asked what they could do.

"It snowballed from there," Harrington said.

The dancers, ranging in age from 7 to 18, have arranged three events, with proceeds from all going to Save the Children. Harrington said her husband researched reputable charitable funds, and this one aligned with the students' desire to help Haitian children in particular.

The first of the three events is a Tap Jam Friday, Feb. 12, from 7-9:30 p.m. at Creative Steps. This improvisational tap event will feature a live band and is open to tappers of all ages and abilities.

"(We'll) just have a good time," Harrington said.

The fee for the Tap Jam is $5 per person, including observers.

The second event is a workshop for dancers, with instruction provided in classical ballet, tap, jazz, hip hop and contemporary. The workshop is being held Saturday, Feb. 13, at the Conference Center at the Lake Opechee Inn and Spa in Laconia, which Harrington said is donating the space. Registration begins at 8 a.m. and the workshop runs from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The cost is $30.

"We're trying to bring all the dance schools together for a common cause," Harrington said, calling the workshop a "giant dance class."

Dancers from other schools have also been invited to participate in the biggest Dance to Heal, Dance to Help event: the benefit performance Saturday night. The public is invited to spend the evening watching "the most talented dancers from the Lakes Region dance schools."

The performance is being held at Winnisquam Regional High School at 7 p.m. Feb. 13. Tickets are $12 per person and are available at Creative Steps in Smitty's Plaza in Tilton or at Dance On in Laconia. If any tickets are left, they will be available at the door.

Some of the younger dancers who are participating said they heard about the earthquake from their parents or on TV. Nine-year-old MacKenzie said she wants to perform in the benefit show because she likes to dance and wants to help the kids in Haiti. Several other kids, including Ella, 8, and Taylor, 9, said dancing is fun and they're excited for the performance.

Eight-year-old Matthew talked about the more serious side of Dance to Heal, Dance to Help.

"I want the people to be able to survive and have food and water," Matthew said.

This isn't the first time Creative Steps has rallied for a cause. They traditionally do a breast cancer walk, and they perform at nursing homes as well.

"We've never done anything as quick, as last minute," said Harrington, who also noted that its been the dancers, not her, who have done most of the work putting Dance to Heal, Dance to Help together.

Though Harrington booked the event locations, she made a longer list of things for the kids to accomplish, and they took it from there. In the past three weeks, they've come up with new dance numbers, practiced extra hours, and designed posters and t-shirts for the benefit, among other things.

"I'm proud of them," Harrington said. "They tend to surprise me."

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