by Erin Sforza
Studios all over the country welcome their community into their doors every day. Dance studios provide a place where children can lose themselves in a love for dance and grow as both performers and people, and parents can enjoy watching their children as they progress. We’re all striving to make sure our studios feel like a community in themselves, but we can go beyond that, making our studios an integral part of the larger community beyond our doors.
There are a lot of ways you can use your passion for dance to improve the lives of those in your community. Our studio has several ways that we help our community every year, and I am so excited to share them with you.
For over a decade, our studio has been partnering with our local Make-A-Wish chapter in several different ways. Our Performance Team has been a part of the entertainment for their Annual Holiday Party, performed at Wish Granting Ceremonies on Believe Day, and at their Annual Gala. We also partnered with them as well as other studios and performers in our area to create our own fundraising performance to benefit them. All of this came about from the connections you can make with parents and students in your studio, and by reaching out to both local and chapters of national charities to offer your partnership and assistance. Our dancers and their parents have always told me how they felt seeing the joy that their performances brought to the children and families that were at these events.
We’ve also established a relationship with social workers in our communities (you can contact local school social workers to start) who will provide us with holiday wish lists for a group of local families in need. We create our “Giving Tree”, something I’m sure many of you are familiar with, and our studio families choose “ornaments” off of the tree and purchase the gifts requested and bring them in to assist in providing holiday joy to those around us. It’s also a great team-building tradition, as our staff will come into the studio to help wrap the donated gifts.
A great way to bring your love of dance into the community are their local celebrations. Tree-lightings, parades, and street fairs are great places to perform and interact with your neighbors. We have routinely been a part of our town’s Holiday Parade, and had a booth at their Street Fair, where we also perform.
Finally, it may be a daunting undertaking, but creating a benefit performance of your own, and partnering with a local charity is a great way to give back to your community. You can choose to have it be just your performers or you can reach out to other studios or performers in your area to participate as well. Our Holiday Show that we created from the ground up has generated over $4,000 in one year for a local charity that we hold dear to our heart.
No matter which avenue you choose, reaching out to the local community, even just making sure you are getting to know your dance families will provide you with multiple ways that you can begin giving back to your community through dance. This will not only benefit the charities you work with, but your dancers will begin to understand the value of being a positive part of their community, and how good it feels to give back while sharing their passion.