A group of young dancers will put their talents on display this weekend in an effort to raise money for a community service project benefitting local children.
For a sixth consecutive year, students of the Statesboro School of Dance will take the Emma Kelly Theater stage at the Averitt Center for the Arts to put on their “Faith in Motion” production.
The free show will run three times Saturday — at 2, 4 and 6 p.m. — and accept donations to fund a program that teaches dance to children of Bulloch County’s Boys & Girls Club.
According to Shay Morgan, owner and artistic director at Statesboro School of Dance, the Faith in Motion shows will again feature a series of song and dance with a Christian tone.
“Whenever I started teaching dance several years ago, we would do one or two ‘praise dances’ — ballet set to contemporary Christian music — each year,” she said. “We used to go to different churches and people always seemed to enjoy it. So we decided to do a full, free show for the public.”
Each show is likely to last about one hour, Morgan said, and will feature nine choreographed dance numbers along with live musical performances between sets.
Heather Whitestone McCallum, Miss America 1995, also will be on hand for each event and serve as a keynote speaker.
McCallum, who used ballet as her talent to become the first deaf Miss America, will lend the costume she wore during the 1994 Miss Alabama Pageant to a student who will perform the dance that propelled McCallum to fame.
Morgan’s dance studio will again accept donations at the Averitt Center to help fund a community project she began along with the first Faith in Motion show.
“When we first starting doing the show, I decided that I would like to take up a donation and do something positive with it,” Morgan said. “We accept donations at the shows and use the money for a service project with the Boys & Girls club — to give ballet or tap lessons to students who otherwise may not have the opportunity.”
The money is used to purchase tights, shoes and T-shirts for more than 30 children who are bussed weekly to the Statesboro School of Dance to learn from Morgan and the studio’s more advanced students.
The annual program begins in February and ends in May with a dance recital at the Averitt Center where students can demonstrate all they have learned, Morgan said.
Participates range from about four to 12-years-old.
According to Mike Jones, Executive Director for Boys & Girls Clubs of Bulloch County, the program is invaluable for those who are a part of it.
“It is a special opportunity for our kids who otherwise would not have the resources to participate in organized dance, or ballet,” Jones said. “Through their participation the children also learn discipline and responsibility.”
Many of the same girls have participated each year since the program began.
“They are excited every year and always eager to participate again,” he said. “It has been exciting to see their development.”
For more information about the Faith in Motion shows or the Boys & Girls Clubs of Bulloch County, people can call the Statesboro School of Dance at (912) 764-2319 or the Boys & Girls Club at (912) 764-9696.
Jeff Harrison can be reached at (912) 489-9454.