Dance For Hope performers boogie for American Cancer Society

The lights dimmed in the Newbury Park Performing Arts Center on Feb. 1 for the 10th annual Dance for Hope concert. The curtains opened, and the crowd clapped and cheered as music filled the auditorium. The performers smiled.

Dance for Hope is a multicultural dance event in which people from around the community come together and raise money for cancer research. Hosted by the Interact club, dancers from the Dance team, a Chinese Dance Troupe, Aspire, Thrive, Academy of Dance Westlake, Zumba, IB Dance and the Bollywood group performed.
Enthusiasm and sweat was put in by the dancers to make the event a success. Zain Kazi, senior, helped the bollywood boys bring out more emotion. “I make sure to model my techniques in a way that I’ve always been an advocate for. I’ve seen multiple situations where people I have danced with have been discouraged because they were laughed at or moved to the back row of the dance,” Kazi said. “This year, I made sure to find the best qualities in each dancer, motivate them and boost their confidence which allowed them to shine.”

Priya Setty, senior, also had to take on more responsibility as the leader for the bollywood girls this year. “ The past few years…I was just responsible for making sure I knew the dances and performed well. But being in charge of the dance I have to choreograph the steps, teach the dance, move around practices to fit everyone’s schedules, organize formations for the stage and (much more).”

To give the audience a more engaged experience, performers further went out of their way to take more risks. “This year I took a different approach than the past few years. I tried to incorporate some modern hip hop with the Bollywood mixes in order to bring the crowd to life. I felt that the fusion of the different types of music appealed to both the dancers and audience,“ Kazi said.

Amiya Prasad, senior and president of the Interact club, is proud of letting our community express their varied backgrounds. “I think this event helped our community as a whole because it brought together people of different cultures and made them more aware of how diverse our community is,” Prasad said. “They were willing to help at every turn and showed how strong our community really is.”

The benefit raised $3,100 in the end, including a generous donation of $1,500 from the NPHS American Cancer Society club and event proceeds. Additionally, a volunteer match program is currently in the works with the help of a dancer who works for Amgen.

“It took so much work and effort from so many different organizations to put this show together, but the overwhelming support and the contributions to American Cancer Society made it so worth it,” Setty said.  

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