For the first time since 2019, the Prince Albert Collegiate Institute (PACI) Dance Program will host their More Than a Room fundraiser at the EA Rawlinson Centre.
More Than a Room began nine years ago to achieve the goal of converting a classroom into a professional dance studio. Since then, the event has helped raise money to pay for costumes, workshops, travel to competitions, or to bring in choreographers.
“These are things that some of our students would not have the opportunity to participate in if this program was not in place,” PACI Dance Program teacher Alicia Wotherspoon said.
Students have worked all year to prepare for Tuesday’s show. Wotherspoon said the dance program is a passion of hers, and one she’s happy to share with her students. She said the program gives students of all backgrounds and skill levels the opportunity to take dances classes and earn three Arts Ed credits.
“In class, the students build each other up and support each other through successes and failures,” she explained. “They learn the value of leadership, respect, confidence, and hard work. The students push themselves to the limit mentally, physically, and emotionally, and they build relationships and social skills. These classes are much more than just a block in a school day and the studio is much more than a room.”
Wotherspoon said she’s extremely grateful to have the opportunity to work with students and share her love of dance. She said it brings out so many different feelings and emotions, and she’s glad she can be a part of it.
“It gives them confidence, empathy, a feeling of family, a safe space to be vulnerable, a vehicle to communicate issues and much more,” she said.
PACI students like Josh Veilleux echoed those comments, and said it’s easy to see the value of the program after participating in it.
“I finally have a safe way to express my emotions through song and motion,” Veilleux said. “I will never forget the importance of letting go and dancing to ease my mind, soul, and heart. It helped me with patience and being in control of my body even better than before.”
Another student dancer, Paige Smith said the classes not only give her a creative outlet, they also make her feel like part of a family.
“I will miss the people in this class and our comfort level with one another,” Smith said. “I really felt like a dance family and I improved on so many skills this block. I will forever consider Ms. W my ‘dance mom’. She’s taught me a lot and really made this room feel like a home. Now I know why she called it More Than a Room.”
PACI student Mackenzie Belair said dance helped her express herself. She’s proud of to be part of a class that created a lot of fun dances and unique memories.
“I will miss the dancers in this group,” Blair said. “They are always ready to help and be there for you, even if it’s not dance related.”
The More Than a Room fundraiser will be on Tuesday, May 17 at the EA Rawlinson Centre. Student performances will be done by the dance program, the Dance Team, and Alumni dancers.
There will also be guest appearances from professional singer/songwriter Nathan Thoen, as well as Birch Hills Dance Centre, King George Elementary School, local singer Taya Lebel and more.
Wotherspoon added that there is a silent auction filled with amazing donations from community members and locally owned businesses.
The doors opening at 7 p.m. and the show scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available at PACI. Adults are $15 and students are $10.
Michael Oleksyn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince Albert Daily Herald