Dance students lend a hand

After damage to the roof of Miss Joanne’s School of Dance forced the studio to rent space while doing repairs, two dancers at the school have decided to step forward and help out.

Dandy and Delilah Dusterhoft have both put their own skills to use to help fundraise for the studio. Dandy has written a book called The Prima Ballerina, which she is selling for money to put toward the repairs. Her sister Delilah has been drawing pictures that she is selling to raise funds as well.

Jessica Dusterhoft, their mother, says she is proud of her girls for taking the initiative to help out.

Dusterhoft says the school has been having issues with the roof over the past several months and there have already been several repairs made with no success. At this point, the studio cannot use the space and is renting space from the Eleanor Pickup Arts Centre.

Both Dandy and Delilah have spent a lot of time with the studio. Not only do they have dance classes there, they’ve also participated in the Oliver Twist musical and have plans to be involved in the upcoming Wizard of Oz show.

Dandy says she wanted to write a book because she really enjoys writing. One of her books was sold as a fundraiser for the Drayton Valley Hospital a few years ago.

She both wrote and illustrated The Prima Ballerina. The story focuses on a ballerina who attends a dance school in New York City. She wants to be the Prima Ballerina, but to fulfill that dream she will have to defeat the rest of the students in a school competition.

“Whoever is the last one standing gets to be the Prima Ballerina,” says Dandy.

Dusterhoft says Dandy has written many stories and has been doing so for most of her life. Dandy says it’s difficult to describe what it is that she enjoys about writing.

“I just love writing,” she says.

Delilah says she’s always loved drawing and wanted to help out, too. Her art is mostly pictures of cats and fun fruit with smiley faces on them.

She says she has a lot of fun finding different objects to draw, though her favourite are cats, animals, people, and food with faces.

“It’s fun to draw,” says Delilah.

Dusterhoft says both Dandy and Delilah have already sold several copies of their work. She says she has been selling the work through her Facebook page with the cost being on a donation basis.

Dandy and Delilah both say they plan to keep the fundraiser open for at least a month and will create as many copies as needed to fill the demand.

Miss Joanne’s School of Dance has a Go Fund Me set up called Raise the Roof. In the page, Joanne Nelson, the owner of the studio, says that the roof needs to be completely replaced and insurance will not cover the costs.

“We are looking for cash donations to help us Raise the Roof, to allow our dancers the chance to continue to come together to dance, rehearse, perform and succeed,” says Nelson on the Go Fund Me page. Nelson says the studio currently has 200 students.

Dusterhoft says she believes the studio is an important piece of the community.

“It helps a lot of kids develop confidence and believe in themselves,” says Dusterhoft. “Especially with the musical theatre aspect. She does more than just dance.”

Anyone who is interested in purchasing a book or a drawing can reach out to Dusterhoft under her Facebook page titled Jessica-Dean Dusterhoft.

Amanda Jeffery, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Drayton Valley and District Free Press