Dance World Responds to Hurricane Harvey With Fundraisers and First-Hand Accounts
The Dance Mix

Dancers Respond To Hurricane Harvey: Fundraisers, Podcasts, Grants To Houston

In response to Hurricane Harvey, the dance community has rallied with several fundraising efforts to support recovery. And one New York-based choreographer has shared a vivid account of experiencing the storm via podcast.

Houston Ballet demi-soloist Harper Watters took to social media to raise funds for the Houston Food Bank. Within seven hours, he raised $1,000 — and then set a new goal of $2,000.

Watters wrote: “As we learn more I’m certain dance specific charitable projects will form, but for now our volunteer efforts are with every single person dealing with tragedies caused by Harvey. We might be down but we are not defeated.”

Houston Ballet reports that its dancers and staff are safe, but the company was forced to cancel its scheduled run of “Poetry in Motion,” planned for September 8 to 17.

Artistic director Stanton Welch and executive director Jim Nelson said they are hopeful the company’s run of Kenneth MacMillian’s “Mayerling” will be able to go on as planned on September 21st. That will depend on the state of the Wortham Theater Center, which was damaged in the storm.

Damage to the Wortham, though, did not affect the company’s valuable costumes, which had been stored in the basement: The staff took precaution to move costumes, including those of “The Nutcracker” to another location.

“We are so pleased to report that the warehouse where all of our sets and additional costumes are stored sustained no damage,” the directors said.

Dance studios that were hurt by the storm may be able to turn to a new GoFundMe campaign set up by Gil Stroming’s Break The Floor Productions, the dance entertainment company that runs DancerPalooza and The Dance Awards.

Stroming started things off by donating $25,000 to the campaign. “Our ultimate goal is $100,000 that we will give DIRECTLY to our studio owner friends that have been affected by Harvey,” he wrote on GoFundMe.com.

The Broadway community has also sent a major gift: Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS has given $155,000 in emergency grants to 17 social service organizations, including food banks, shelters and animal protection efforts.

Also on the list a $10,000 grant to the The Hobby Center for the Performing Arts in Houston. The Center, now damaged by flood waters, has welcomed national tours on Broadway shows — and raised money for Broadway Cares over the years.

For a first-hand account of getting through the storm, choreographer and teacher Barry Kerollis has devoted his podcast on the Premier Dance Network to sharing his experience.

Kerollis was in Texas to choreograph two works on the Uptown Dance Company and teach at the Uptown Dance Center. He wound up seeing sights he says he’ll never forget: “When the rain started pouring, I had never seen anything like this. We had lightening every three to five seconds.”

Here’s to all for dancing through the storms!

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