Giv­ing back

For­mer Cape Bre­ton res­i­dent help­ing to get lo­cal dance fa­cil­i­ties re­paired

Cape Breton Post - - Arts/Entertainment - BY CAPE BRE­TON POST STAFF

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.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

This is the poster from the up­com­ing dance event, Chiaroscuro, which will raise money for lo­cal dance fa­cil­i­ties in the CBRM.

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