by Kerstin Auer —

The Love to Dance Academy is fundraising for a new dance floor and received a boost from Herb Graham and David Laird, TNRD Area Directors for areas N and M, respectively. The donation totaled $2,000, with $1,000 coming from each of the directors’ discretionary fund.

The discretionary fund is tied to administrative approval and a set of criteria, similar to grant-in-aid funding. Societies and non-profits apply for it and the directors spend it where they feel it will be most beneficial for the community. 

“We both feel strongly about supporting them, simply because it’s just an awesome venue for our little community. And it’s not only for the children, but adults do it as well,” said Graham. 

“Herb and I have supported a lot of the community’s groups and societies, and this is one that we feel very worthwhile,” added Laird.

Toni Stewart, president of the Merritt Dance Society, was present for the donation and provided more details to the Herald about the fundraising project. The goal is to purchase an industry standard professional grade dance floor to ensure the dancers’ comfort and, most importantly, safety. The floor is portable and rolls out in the sheets; it will be used for performances on the city stage at the Civic Centre, which is aging and safe performances cannot be guaranteed any longer. According to Stewart, volunteers currently have to intervene after a few performances to shim and adjust the stage, so the performance can continue. A portable dance floor is the solution. 

“We need the mat to cover the seams and negate that problem so our dancers can be safe when they are dancing on stage,” explained Stewart.

“The benefit of it being portable is that we can use it for outreach programs at seniors’ homes or daycares, we can do outdoor performances without worrying about tripping on gravel or having to limit what styles of dance we can do for dancer’s safety.”

The portable stage can also be used in the studio to provide a wider space for all dance styles like tap, flamenco, ballet. Fundraising efforts were kicked off via two private donations received through the Nicola Valley Community Arts Council from someone who wants to support dance in the community. With these initial donations covering about half the amount needed, the additional boost from the TNRD directors will get the society much closer to reaching their goal.

Donations are always welcome, but the community can also support the Love to Dance Academy by coming to watch performances and encouraging the dancers. 

“Come watch us when we’re performing! The kids like to have encouragement that they are going good work and that their results are worth watching. Any opportunity where we are out in the community, please come and cheer us on,” said Stewart

To support the Merritt Dance Society with a donation, or find out more, get in touch at [email protected].