Town benefit set for Sandy Hook

By Rob Glidden
Staff Writer

Dance City and the Arts is teaming up with Southington’s United Way to hold a fundraising event for the Sandy Hook School Support Fund.
The community has been invited to Derynoski Elementary School on Saturday, January 26 to watch performances by the students of Dance City, the area band J.J. BOS and other local talent. All proceeds from the ticket sales will benefit the Sandy Hook Fund, meant for the community mourning the tragic shootings in Newtown.
“Just like everyone else, [the students] were stunned and in a state of disbelief,” said Sheila Simone, owner of Dance City and the Arts. “They wanted to do something for the children. We’ve done enough fundraising events for them to know that this is a way they can make a difference. It feels like the least we can do.”
The Sandy Hook Fund is managed by the United Way of West Central Connecticut, a regional branch of the organization that includes Newtown. The other 13 United Way branches in the state, including Southington, are putting on various events to contribute to the Sandy Hook Fund.
“We’ve gotten some individual donations but this event will be our major contribution to that fund,” said Kaye Davis, Executive Director of the United Way of Southington. “Dance City has been a wonderful partner and they are very excited. We’re expecting great things.”
26 people ultimately were killed on the December 14 massacre and Simone has noticed that this number has been prominent while planning this event. In addition to being held on the 26, the team that will be on stage has 26 members and has 26 different dance routines planned.
Simone said that 25 of those numbers were “pure entertainment,” but one will have a more serious tone. Dance City will debut a new piece dedicated to the victims of Sandy Hook and that will focus on the emotions felt by the community, such as uncertainty, mourning and the loss of innocence.
This is not the first time the group has used their art to comment on a tough subject. In the past, dance routines have been performed in honor of domestic violence victims.
“They were very empowered when they saw what dance could do,” said instructor Lisa Carroll. “When this happened, they wanted to express their support through dance.”
Tickets for the performance cost $10 and can be purchased at the door. Those looking to get them in advance can also buy them at the Pepper Pot Restaurant, Just For You Gift Shop, the Southington United Way office and Dance City and the Arts.
Carroll, who is an advisor for numerous area drama clubs and works in the library at Northeast Middle School in Bristol, said that she had heard a lot of enthusiasm for the fundraiser and that the crowd may exceed early expectations.
“Sometimes you think you’re just doing a little local event and you don’t realize the impact you can have,” she said. “We have a nice array of talent and I think we’ll have a lot of support.”

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