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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

UA dancers’ steps make cents

Ginny Polin/ Arizona Daily Wildcat

Dance for a Cause
Ginny Polin
Ginny Polin/ Arizona Daily Wildcat Dance for a Cause

A non-profit dance troupe started by a UA alumnus will hold its inaugural benefit show this weekend.

Mika Deslongchamps, who graduated in May with a degree in speech, language and hearing sciences, and her aunt, Patte Lazarus, started Dance for a Cause in July.

“”Mika came to me with the idea of starting a dance group whose primary objective would be to raise funds for other organizations,”” Lazarus said. “”It’s to celebrate the joy of life but also to give back to people who are going through difficult times.””

The organization plans on holding four events each year, starting with its first benefit show this Friday and Saturday.

“”It was just kind of an idea I’ve had for a long time,”” Deslongchamps said. “”I wanted the dance community to come together, despite their different backgrounds, and give back to the community.””

The two want the show to benefit different organizations each year. This year, all proceeds will benefit local breast cancer causes through the Arizona Cancer Center and the International Cancer Advocacy Network.

“”We decided to focus on research and advocacy,”” Lazarus said. “”We feel that those are two areas that aren’t necessarily touched as much as maybe awareness is.””

Deslongchamps said they chose the cause in part because Lazarus is a breast cancer survivor.

“”A lot of the dancers have personal connections, so we thought it would be a good one to start with,”” Deslongchamps said. “”It’s a big one that people know about.””

Deslongchamps recruited dancers from the UA and around Tucson to donate their time. The group is composed of about 20 to 25 people who started rehearsals over the summer. Dancers have practiced from 9 p.m. to midnight four days a week for the past month.

“”It’s been a big commitment for the dancers. All of them are either full-time professional dancers, full-time college students or parents,”” Deslongchamps said.

Psychology sophomore Christopher Smith, who will dance in the show and choreographed one of the dances, heard about the organization from a friend.

“”I showed up, saw the dances and decided this is something I want to be a part of,”” Smith said.

Smith said he juggles the rehearsals with practices for an African dance ensemble at the UA.

“”I kind of just go from one to the other,”” Smith said. “”It is your life.””

The show features about 10 dances previously performed by other studios and another 10 choreographed by group members specifically for the event.

“”Every single one of them is a premiere work,”” Deslongchamps said. “”A never-seen-before piece.””

English sophomore Elle Grant choreographed a 17-minute piece for the show called “”The Flood.””

“”It’s about the trials the women go through with breast cancer,”” said Grant, who is also a dance minor. “”So it’s talking about the initial finding out and the tearing apart of relationships.””

Deslongchamps said the two-hour show features several types of dance.

“”(The audience is) going to see a huge variety of dance styles from African to modern and everything in between,”” Deslongchamps said. “”They’re also going to get to see a group of people who really love to perform together.””

Smith said the show is an enjoyable way for people to give back.

“”If you’re not there to support the cause, who doesn’t like to see people dance around and have fun?”” Smith asked. “”A lot of our dances make you smile. If you don’t smile, some of our dances will make you cry. It’s better than a movie.””

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