Third annual Dance for Dreams Festival to be held

tututrotGet ready to move and groove on July 19th when the Phoenix Art Center hosts the 3rd annual Dance for Dreams festival in honor of Health and Fitness Month in Uniontown, featuring live performances, free dance lessons, games, vendors, raffles and family fun.

“People are always saying there’s nothing to do. Well, we’re offering lots to do on July 19, and the best part is much of it is free and open to all ages,” said Brenda Girod, Dance for Dreams Committee Member, Corresponding Secretary for the Board of Directors of the Uniontown Arts Fellowship and chair of the Tutu Trot Race. “The festival is a great event to attend because it focuses on getting people outdoors and active during the City of Uniontown’s Health and Fitness Month by using dance as a fun fitness choice.”

In addition to the festival, a Tutu Trot one mile race will be held, a change from previous 5K events. This year, the race is a community fundraiser for the Phoenix and other area nonprofits, schools, youth sports teams and charitable causes. Race participants form teams and compete for fundraising prizes. Teams are asked to solicit donations from friends and family, noting that their donation will benefit both the Phoenix Arts Center and the cause their team represents. The Phoenix Arts Center will donate at least 30% back to each cause and the top fundraising team will get 50% donated to their cause with the runner-up to receive a 40% donation. tututrot2

“Although 5K races are very popular in Fayette County, there is one almost every weekend,” said Girod. “We wanted to offer something different in an effort to attract new people to the local race circuit. We found that a lot of our friends and family were just beginning runners and walkers who were not confident enough to try a full 5K. We thought making the race one mile would attract new runners and walkers [of all age groups] to build their confidence.”

“Tutu” isn’t just in the name of the race. While they’re not required, wearing one is encouraged.

While the festival has a dance theme, everyone – dancers and non-dancers alike – is welcome to attend. Highlighting other forms of fitness, demonstrations for CrossFit, Zumba and Yoga will be available. Additionally, there will be an arts and crafts zone, tye-dye booth, food offered by the War Eagle Rations and much more. Area studio students and community members will also host performances. Check the schedule for times. Competitions and activities are open to all ages including the “Go Across the Floor” speed games and the “Shake Your Tutu” community Dance.

“Everyone should be sure to check out the amazing raffle prizes we have this year and to stop by the CrossFit Demonstrations,” said Girod. “Also, we strongly encourage participation in our free community dance lessons. Many are taught by professional dancers with the Bodiography Dance Company in Pittsburgh, so it’s a great opportunity to learn from some of the area’s best dancers.”

For serious dancers, a Master Class with Bodiography’s founder and owner, Maria Caruso, is available, and doubles as a fundraiser for area studios. The class is open to any competitively trained dancer 10 and older.

“The class is only $25 and it doubles as a fundraiser for area studios,” said Girod. “Each student who registers and is enrolled in an area studio will earn a percentage of their registration fee back as a donation to their studio. Where else can you take a dance class and fundraise for your studio at the same time? It’s a really FUN-raiser.”

Vendors like Jamberry Nails and Avon will be on site and the center will also host a fundraiser raffle with nearly $1,000 of goods and services donated by the local community, with prizes such as Vera Bradley Baskets donated by Neubauers Flower’s, jewelry from Abby’s Gold and Gems, Origami Owl and tickets for Pittsburgh theater productions.

Kelly Judy prepping for the event

“Dance for Dreams” began when Kelly Judy (pictured) wanted to provide the community with a festival that focused on dance but also benefited a local charity. After taking classes at the Phoenix Arts Center, she opted to make the center the primary benefactor. Shortly after the festival, Kelly became part of the Board of Directors for the Uniontown Arts Fellowship, which operates the Phoenix and the festival became their largest annual fundraiser.

“As a past dancer, she knew what great talent there was [in the area] and wanted to showcase the studios and their students,” said Girod. “It was intended to be a celebration of dance for the entire community. [The festival] is important to us not only as a fundraiser, but also as a celebration of our mission, to basically use the arts as a vehicle for hope, healing and life. The festival has grown to not only showcase local dance talent, but to share the art of dance with the entire community [and offer] a fun fitness option for the entire family.”

For more information about the event, to register or check out the full schedule, visit www.thephoenixartscenter.org.

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Story by Hayley Martin for Pennsylvania Bridges

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