It is no secret that the COVID-19 restrictions have affected many operations for the past two years. However, even through hard times, Merritt Dance Society was still able to function as an organization. This largely thanks to the community of Merritt who has supported various initiatives by the dance society. Now, the group has hosted a free dance party event for the kids in the community. This event serves as a token of appreciation by Merritt Dance Society to the community.
It was a warm and welcoming Sunday afternoon on June 12 at the Smith’s Pioneer Park as the Merritt Dance Society hosted their ‘Dance Party in the Park’ event.
“We really lucked out on the weather today,” said Toni Stewart, president of Merritt Dance Society.
“It was a perfect day! We had about 60 kids drop by to dance and play at the park throughout the course of the afternoon.”
The non-profit organization supports Love to Dance Academy. They planned a fun day at the park where kids attending could play, hang out with friends and, of course, dance to their heart’s content.
“We want them to just be, just play, be outside and be kids,” said Stewart.
“We had a program of songs to play. Some of them are more structured dances that kids might recognize like the Cha-Cha slide or the freeze song. We are trying to have a variety for toddlers all the way up to older kids so they can have something that they recognize.”
Stewart described their song selection as a very family-friendly selection of music and multi-cultural.”
“We try to pick songs from different culture groups so there might be songs that kids may have never heard before but it’s still fun to dance to.”
The event’s aim was to celebrate with the community who has been very supportive through these turbulent times.
“Through COVID, the wildfires and flooding, we still managed to stay alive to provide services for kids,” said Stewart.
“The community has been quite supportive. They’ve supported our bottle drive, our yard sales, our chocolate fundraisers and all of our initiatives. We couldn’t have gotten by without the community outside of our dance studio and this is a way for us to thank all the Merritt families that have helped us along the way.”
The ‘Dance Party in the Park’ was the first of its kind for the Merritt Dance Society.
“Originally, Lizette, our head instructor, had proposed that we have a dance event outside just to have kids come together again,” Stewart explained.
“At the time, we were still under COVID mandates and things were sort of iffy. We thought that if we planned something outdoors, it would go better as per the rules at the time. Eventually it evolved into a community dance party to bring the kids together again.”
The event was sponsored by many local businesses door giveaways and prizes for the participants. Literacy Merritt was also on hand providing books and coloring station for the kids.
The following is the list of sponsors for the event:
Titan Diamond Drilling
Neale Bros Transfer Ltd
Miss Vicki’s Petals and Plants
Merritt Toys and Games
“It was nice to meet face to face,” said Stewart. “We appreciate everyone taking the time to come out to our dance party event. Everyone seemed to have a good time and the general overall feeling is one of success.”
Dance Party in the Park by Izaiah Reyes
Dance students now are preparing to perform at the Civic Centre on June 26, for their dance medal tests and recitals.
To keep up to date with the latest from Love To Dance, please visit their website at www.lovetodanceacademy.com or visit their official Facebook page.