Edmonton belly dancer and co-owner of Bedouin Beats, Stacie Clarke performs a solo for attendees.

Ponoka’s Read My Hips dance troupe about empowering women

The fundraiser was aimed at a children’s arts and culture fund held at Ponoka FCSS

The message was clear: Women helping women raise money for kids’ arts and cultural programming.

That came across loud and clear during the Read My Hips dance fundraiser Sept. 29 at the Kinsmen Community Centre that brought dance troupes from all around central Alberta to perform. Dancers came together to raise money to go into an arts and cultural fund that Ponoka FCSS administers.

The event was a ladies’ night only performance, which brought supper and dance entertainment from belly dance groups from Ponoka, Wetaskiwin, Red Deer and Edmonton.

Andrea Ramage is the troupe director for Read My Hips and she was pleased with the strong turnout and support for the fundraiser. She was also pleased with how women performing for other women created a sense of empowerment.

“It’s really fantastic to see the ladies in my troupe flourish and really come into their bravery,” said Ramage.

That positivity also reflected on the audience.

“So many people came to me and said, ‘I wasn’t sure what to expect but that was incredible,’” she added.

Attendees found themselves with a sense of strength after the show. One of the more popular pieces in the show is the mother/daughter dance performed by the Read My Hips dancers and their daughters. “It always is very powerful.”

“When we flipped the lights on and saw that the entire audience was crying. They were just moved,” said Ramage.

She suggests the dance shows a strong message that women and girls do not need to hide. They can be themselves, Ramage said.

Two years ago the troupe raised money for the arts and culture fund, and it has now been depleted. A total of 28 kids accessed the fund, which allowed kids to take part in drama camps, science camps and other cultural programming.

“I think artistic, and cultural programming is extremely important,” explained Ramage. “We are moved, and inspired by the arts, and so I feel like there is a responsibility to provide opportunities for children to have these kinds of experiences.”

“Art is vitally important, so support for artistic programming is important.”

And when women come together in support of a program such as this, it adds to its importance.

“Seeing the audience emotionally moved, and knowing that the performances have such a strong, positive influence makes the whole event very special,” said Ramage.

Fundraising totals were not available at press time.

 

Tri Devi Tribal, a trio belly dance troupe out of Edmonton, performs for attendees.

Captivation out of Wetaskiwin is directed by Rena Sorensen and the group showcased a moving dance with flourish and colour.

Performing the activity, Lyra, these performers, made up of Jodie Solomon and Ashtyn Holdal, put together an acrobatic display for attendees during the intermission.

The Ponoka Read My Hips belly dance fundraiser Sept. 29 at the Kinsmen Community Centre was a fun-filled evening. The ladies only event aimed to raise money for the arts and culture fund administered by Ponoka FCSS. Here, the troupe’s mother/daughter dance is one of the most anticipated performances of the evening.

Dancer Crystal Weran, owner of Sultan’s Choice out of Red Deer performs with her troupe on the Kinsmen Community Centre stage.

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