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Praise dance performance benefits Boys and Girls Club
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Dancers from the Boys & Girls Club of Bulloch County perform on-stage at the end of their lessons in May 2012. Donations from a recent performance benefited the program. - photo by Special

More than 900 attendees filled Georgia Southern University’s Performing Arts Center almost to capacity recently to watch Statesboro School of Dance ballet students perform liturgical dances to benefit the Boys & Girls Club of Bulloch County.
    Donations collected at the end of the dance supply students from the Boys & Girls Club with leotards, tights, shoes, 14 weeks of lessons and theater rental for their demonstration in early May. 
    A show earlier this month marked the seventh year Shay Morgan, the director of Statesboro School of Dance, has entertained the community with the Faith in Motion performance.
    “I’ve been doing praise dances since I was in eighth grade,” Morgan said. “When I started my own studio in 2002, my high school and junior high school students danced to Christian music at churches, nursing homes and festivals.”
    When the number of presentations for the older students became overwhelming and younger students also wanted to be included, Morgan decided to offer a free praise performance, with all of her dancers participating and monies collected from donations going back into the community.
    “I’ve always wanted to work with kids who might not have the same opportunities in the arts as other kids,” she said. “I have a heart for students who might can’t afford to participate in formal dance instruction.”
    Morgan, who teaches tap, ballet, and jazz to students from the ages of 3-18, feels strongly that dance and the arts benefits children of all ages.
“I feel like the arts teach them so much about life — self-discipline, how to express themselves, how to use their energy in a positive way,” she said. “I just love working with the Boys & Girls (Club) dancers. They’re so appreciative and enjoy it so much. I’ve had kids that have grown up doing this and look forward to it every year.”
    The Boys & Girls Club students arrive at Morgan’s studio by bus or van twice a week for ballet and tap lessons. Beth Marshal and Brii Tyson, Statesboro School of Dance tap and jazz instructors — along with older dance students from the studio — assist with the lessons.
    Sea Island Bank sponsored the event, and President and CEO Darren Burnett introduced Morgan to the full auditorium.
It was so packed that Morgan’s husband, Clint, the head football coach at Frederica Academy and former Bulloch Academy athletic director, wound up near the back of the balcony.
“He may have to get here earlier next year!” Morgan quipped.
Mike Jones, the executive director of the Boys & Girls Club of Bulloch County, said he appreciates this opportunity for club participants.
“For the past six years, the students and staff of Statesboro School of Dance have graciously volunteered their time and resources,” Jones said. “In January of each year, the club is full of excitement and anticipation of another season of dance practice.
“For many of our children, economic barriers exclude them from participating in specialized activities like dance,” he continued. “Through the generosity of our local community in supporting Faith in Motion, 35 children are provided an opportunity that they would otherwise not have.
“Most importantly, Shay, the staff, and students of Statesboro School of Dance also provide a wholesome environment where our youth learn more than just dance. We cannot thank the studio enough for including our members in this program.”

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