Santa and His Dancing Elves...
We are deep into the winter holidays, and 2019 is dancing to a close. And what a fantastic end to a year, and decade.
It has only been four months since Becca and Ellie convinced me to formalize our dancers into the Moore Dance Company. And what a four months it has been!
The brand new company bonded over a company cleanup party at our studio Spotlight Vermont. We scrubbed, polished, magic erased, and surprised Jen with a shining space for the Open House. In doing so, we set the tone for our new dance year. We worked hard, danced hard, and rehearsed like crazy. MDC performed its first official show for Ibutwa in October. It was a huge success, and we were so pleased by our generous audience, and the incredibly warm reception we were given. It was a great beginning.
And so we end 2019, in the same way we began; with a surprise, but this time for me and Ibutwa. While helping out after our October dance performance I was told that it costs just $5 a month to educate a girl in the Congo. I could not stop thinking of it; imagining all the money I spent on nonessentials, I felt a little ill. But I told myself that we had just done a beautiful performance, and raised a generous amount of money, I didn’t need to feel guilty. And this is the truth, we don’t need to feel guilty about our good fortune, but we should be aware, and never fail to be grateful.
With this gratitude in mind I realized I wanted MDC to sponsor one small fundraiser before the year ended. I didn’t want to add to the stress of an already busy season. We had just had a successful food drive at Spotlight, and we were about to start Toys for Tots, but I couldn’t stop thinking about that five dollars. A box of cereal or cookies, yet another pair of cute socks, these things were the cost of schooling for one month. And so, I created the MDC $5 challenge.
I challenged my dancers, and students to do an extra chore for $5 and donate it to Ibutwa. I took a picture of Hooper in front of a jar with the words "$5" chalked on it; another of him in surrounded by the $5 items we would give up at our home. I hoped some of my students would participate and some parents would give up one item and donate that money. In my mind I had the goal of $200, but I really just liked the idea of my students getting a chance to help another young person; any amount would have been wonderful.
Well Santa came early in the form of my MDC and Spotlight families. Before I even had the jar at Spotlight, company member Grace, and her young cousin Chloe, had $5 each for the jar. Students and my dancers responded with chores and their allowance. Grandparents, parents, and care givers contributed. Parents donated in honor of me and the other teachers at Spotlight. One of my adult students, donated all the money her mother had given her for Christmas. She said educating twenty girls was the best gift she could think of. On my last day of teaching,(Dec 19), I carried a full jar home. My goal of $200 was more than tripled.
The $5 challenge made almost $700. $55 were donated on Facebook. $645 were in the jar.
I was so surprised and humbled by the generous response to this little idea. And what a wonderful reminder of how good most people are. And what a joy it was to hand off the challenge money to Ibutwa board member Lucy Samara. I have known Lucy for years and she is a force for good in this world.
Yes, it is easy to be depressed by the world we live in, so many problems, so much sadness. But this challenge has reminded me once again we can all make a difference. We can live lives of gratitude and service. We can be be kind and generous.
Let’s move into 2020, with optimism and joy!
I am feeling so uplifted and inspired by the first months of Moore Dance Company. I am excited to create new dances, and watch my dancers continue to bloom. I am so grateful for the opportunity to give back and be of service doing what I have always loved. So let’s dance together into the New Year and build on this beautiful and incredible beginning. We can make beautiful changes one small step at a time, all we have to do is keep dancing.