Former Cape Breton resident helping to get local dance facilities repaired
Thomas Colford spent his childhood in Cape Breton, learning about music, theatre and dance, eventually leaving in his teens to pursue an arts career in Toronto.
Now he’s coming back home to raise money for the institutions that initially inspired him.
“I grew up in Cape Breton dancing at Cape Breton School of the Arts and Northside Dance Unlimited,” he says. “In 2012 I moved to Toronto to pursue a professional career in acting and dance. I’ve been fortunate enough to have had the opportunity to work with musical artists such as Janet Jackson, Shawn Mendes, and Imagine Dragons. I’ve also worked in film and television as an actor on Centre Stage: En Pointe, and Family Channel/ Disney Channel’s Backstage.”
Each year, Colford returns home to work with students from various local dance studios but he finds that the area’s studios are deteriorating.
“Unfortunately, the physical conditions of these studios are rapidly declining,” says Colford. “The studio owners have done everything they can to maintain the buildings, however, due to difficult economic conditions, they have already maxed out the resources available to them.”
Colford and his team have organized a GoFundMe page and an event in August that he hopes will raise between $20,000 and $30,000 that will go towards improving five local studios, including the Cape Breton School of the Arts, Northside Dance Unlimited, D&R Dance Ltd, Lucy Winterman’s School of Dance and Dance Sync.
In one day the gofundme page had already raised almost 40 per cent of the $10,000 goal.
The upcoming show is titled Chiaroscuro and it will solely feature local dance students and alumnae. It opens at 8 p.m., Aug. 28, at the Highland Arts Theatre, which is donating the performance space to support the cause. It runs through the following two evenings. Tickets could be purchased starting Saturday, May 27, from the Highland Arts Theatre for $25 in advance and $30 at the door. The goal of this show is to not only raise funds for the dance facilities mentioned, it is also an opportunity to demonstrate the power of art first hand.
Colford says arts programs are essential, keeping kids out of trouble and helping them foster a passion.
“I cannot stand by and let these programs disappear without doing everything I can to help save them,” he says, adding that money raised will go towards upgrading the facilities. “Any and every amount of contribution is greatly appreciated by myself and the community.”
For information on how you can help, check out the project’s GoFundMe campaign at https:// www.gofundme.com/rebuild-cape-bretonsdance-studios . Anyone interested in working with or sponsoring this event are encouraged to reach out to Thomas Colford on social media.
This is the poster from the upcoming dance event, Chiaroscuro, which will raise money for local dance facilities in the CBRM.