The troupe has many fans.

The troupe has many fans.

Belly dancers come together to support children’s programs

The Kinsmen Community Centre was full to the brim with women eager to support the Ponoka Parent Link Centre Saturday, Sept. 27.

The Kinsmen Community Centre was full to the brim with women eager to support the Ponoka Parent Link Centre Saturday, Sept. 27.

The women only event was quite popular and was hosted by the Read My Hips belly dance troupe. The sold-out show brought belly dance groups from Edmonton, Wetaskiwin and Ponoka, whose focus at this year’s fundraiser was the Ponoka Parent Link Centre.

The positive effects the centre has had on families and mothers in Ponoka could not be overstated. When president and creative director for the Read My Hips group, Andrea Ramage, asked women in the crowd to stand up if they were positively affected by the centre’s programs, a large number of women stood up.

Ramage told women packing the hall that the centre offered many educational programs for parents and their children. To exemplify that, the Read My Hips dance troupe showcased young girls who take part in a dance program called Sway and Clay. Their performance touched many of the women in the room and drew a standing ovation.

Attendees were treated to a total of 18 performances from dancers all over central Alberta. Some groups drew large applause for their performance. Ramage says she has networked with many of these dancers and asked if they wanted to take part in the program. Many were eager to join in.

“There’s something about the dancers’ spirit,” said Ramage.

There were numerous silent auction items up for grabs. Ramage said her goal was to raise $12,000 to install a kitchen at the centre’s new location at 5012 48 Avenue. The centre was able to update its new space for its use, but did not have the funds needed to build a new kitchen space complete with cooking island and cupboards.

“To really make it a community centre where we can do family pancake breakfasts and family turkey dinners, we need a kitchen,” said Ramage.

A cooking island is part of the plan as she hopes to host cooking classes for the centre’s members. Final numbers were not in at press time and while the group may not have raised the full $12,000, she feels the fundraiser has brought them closer to that goal. Ramage suggested the cooking island may have to wait until they have more funds.

Ramage says had it not been for the Ponoka Kinette Club, who is supplying $5,000 worth of appliances, cutlery and plates, the cost would have been even higher.

The best part of the night?

“Seeing little girls who have no reservations about their beauty. No worries about what someone will think,” she said.

Ramage says the centre is holding a grand opening Oct. 20 and she invites parents and community members to visit the centre to see the new space.

The event was so popular that the Read My Hips belly dance group is considering another fundraiser for next year.

Correction: In Oct.1 edition of Ponoka News, the story on page 17 headlined “Belly dancers come together to support children’s programs”, Andrea Ramage was referred to as the president of the Ponoka Parent Link Centre due to an editing error. She is the program coordinator for the centre. We regret any inconvenience this may have caused.