Two dancers write about their experiences:
Courtney Elizabeth: As a dancer, I love what I do. You will probably never meet a dancer who is not passionate about the art form. However, there have been many times in the past when I’ve struggled with the practicality and meaningfulness of being a dancer. I mean, I could be digging wells in Africa, building homes and shelters in Japan, or feeding the homeless here in SF.
A few months ago, I had never even heard of the organization Children of Uganda. A friend just happened to say, “Did you hear about this group of children that are coming to the Bay Area? Oh yeah—they’re orphans. From Africa.” I wanted to learn more, so I went online and I was able to watch videos of these young children learning traditional Ugandan dance and music.
I was moved, and I instantly wanted to get involved. Several of us at the Ballet decided to work together to help in the best way we know how: by dancing. We were inspired to use our talents to organize a benefit performance for the Children of Uganda.
Seeing those kids dance with so much joy in the midst of brokenness and pain made me feel the power of making something beautiful, and it showed me that on some level, that’s what we’re doing here at SFB: creating beauty in the crazy ups and downs of life. Watching those kids was really important to me...who am I to say that it isn’t equally as important to everyone sitting in the audience?
Frances Chung: For me, helping this organization was a no-brainer. It’s always hard for me to decide who and how to help others, but I felt an instant kinship with COU because of dance. With art, all language and cultural barriers fall away—there’s a universal connection. And I think that’s why so many dancers have rallied around this cause. Most dancers are passionate about helping others in different ways, but everyone feels a bond with this organization through their art.
It’s been especially meaningful for me to get involved because I’m a strong believer in the healing qualities/properties of movement. My college senior project was a study of how movement therapy helped and rehabilitated battered women, and so it was really beautiful to me find that these orphans were also being healed, rehabilitated, and educated through dance.
As we have embarked on this enormous task of organizing a benefit performance, I have a whole newfound appreciation for everyone who works behind the scenes at SFB. There is SO much thought, creativity, planning, and hard work that goes into putting on just one show. From marketing and publicity, to development and fundraising, to finding a venue and creating choreography, we have all learned so much, particularly the importance of delegating. Over and over again, I’ve been impressed with how many people are willing to give of their time, resources, and talents for a worthy cause
THANK YOU to Courtney, Frances, and so many others who made the event such a success! We raised over $20,000 for Children of Uganda at this one event.