Conscious Party: WNC Dance Academy Benefit Showcase

THE COMPANY: WNC Dance Academy's Jan. 20 showcase at the Asheville High School auditorium features large group, small group, trio, duet and solo pieces. All proceeds and nonperishable food donations from the event will be given to MANNA FoodBank. Photo by Marlumor Photography

WHAT: A dance showcase to benefit MANNA FoodBank

WHEN: Saturday, Jan. 20, 6 p.m.

WHERE: Asheville High School auditorium, 419 McDowell St.

WHY: When WNC Dance Academy first decided to do a benefit showcase five years ago, the company considered working with Toys for Tots but decided to go with MANNA FoodBank because of the large amount of homelessness in the Asheville area.

“[MANNA] was actually chosen by one of my younger dancers at the time, Ayla Orta, who was 7 years old. I believe she said, ‘People can live without toys, but cannot live without food,’” says WNCDA owner and director Tina Simms.

“We are so grateful to be able to partner with MANNA FoodBank and to be a small contributor to help them restock their shelves after the holiday season. From what we are told, MANNA receives a lot of donations over the holiday, but the need is so great that their stock is depleted after the holiday season. That’s why we chose to do the benefit in January.”

The latest show takes place Saturday, Jan. 20, at the Asheville High School auditorium. Last year’s showcase was also held there, after which WNCDA helped MANNA create a food closet for AHS students who are homeless and in need.

“The showcase will feature all styles of dance, as well as a vocal performance by Sophie Scott, who is a member of our adult company,” Simms says. “Dance styles will include ballet, modern, contemporary, hip-hop, lyrical and jazz.”

Dancers ages 4-18 in the performing company will present large group, small group, trio, duet and solo pieces. The evening also includes guest performances by professional dancers Vanessa Owen, Gavin Stewart, Jaime Thompson, Jeff Ewing and Rebecca O’Quinn, most of whom teach at the studio.

After the showcase, WNCDA’s company performers will dance at Givens Estates in February, attend various dance conventions and workshops, and vie in four competitions across the Carolinas between now and May. The company’s next public performance will be its spring showcase in June.

WNC Dance Academy’s MANNA FoodBank Benefit Showcase takes place at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 20, at the Asheville High School auditorium. $12 and/or donate four items of nonperishable food.

About Edwin Arnaudin
Edwin Arnaudin is a staff writer for Mountain Xpress. He also reviews films for and is a member of the Southeastern Film Critics Association (SEFCA) and North Carolina Film Critics Association (NCFCA). Follow me @EdwinArnaudin

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