Mar 232013
 

This year marked the seven year itch for March Madness in Louisville, but not in regards to the Cardinals. You might be shocked to learn there is more to March than basketball at the University of Louisville. Well, maybe not… but the true shock is the lack of attention some noteworthy events receive. The University of Louisville’s 7th Annual Dance Marathon on March 23rd was such an event.

For those unfamiliar with this less publicized and somewhat more artistic marathon, the first March Madness dance marathon was initiated by a group of students wanting to make a difference and support the local Kosair Children’s Hospital. They accomplished this by orchestrating a good, old fashioned dance marathon in 2006. The participating couples wore numbers and danced for hours, with the last on the floor winning, aka raising the most. The donation is made via the Children’s Hospital Foundation.

The University Of Louisville Dance Marathon 2013 was sponsored by Chili’s and drew more than 300 students to the Universities Student Activities Center on March 23rd, with many being repeat participants. Couples danced as part of a team and were assigned a specific color t-shirt along with their individual ‘duet’ number. A trio of DJ’s spun from a list of desirable dance tunes (student wise) and the teams moved with the flow of the beat (or the one in their head) for as long as they could.

The team t-shirt is a requirement for the students but otherwise the dress code is casual and up for interpretation. This is an open invite for some college style creativity to emphasize team color and style. Every ULDM brings more vibrantly colorful leggings, tutus, overalls, feathers, fake fur, ribbons, wigs and sneakers out on the dance floor. The open artistic encouragement helps increase the enthusiasm amongst the students, sponsors and spectators as fans of specific teams cheer their support. Realistically, as the evening hours wane into the morning, some grow weary but many of these students dance well past dawn.

It is not necessarily their ‘talent’ that draws applause for these dancers but more so their creative expression and physical endurance for a good cause. The participation increases yearly at this ‘dance for charity’ event as previous participants and committee members spread the word amongst enthusiastic new students. The University Of Louisville Dance Marathon has raised and benefited the needy children of Kosair in funds exceeding $300,000 up to date according to Amanda Current, Special Events Manager at the Children’s Hospital Foundation.

 

Now that the Madness of March has left us and we’ve made it past April’s noted day for fools, here are a few upcoming events that will give you a reason to venture out amongst the upcoming showers:

Celtic Woman will bring a taste of the Irish to the Louisville Palace on April 24th.

Shen Yun interprets 5000 years of Chinese culture via dance, theatre and music at 501 West Main on April 30th and May 1st starting at 7:30 pm.

 

Dec 232011
 

Tis the season…. And as a new columnist to LMN, I’d like to wish all you readers a happy holiday and pleasant journey into the New Year. May your festivities be filled with joy, and the hangovers be mild. Oh, and don’t drink and drive if you can help it. The possibility of starting the year 2012 with a DUI does not make for a cheerful beginning.

In the spirit of the season, I’d like to bestow a little recognition to Rachel Reich, of Raqia Belly Dance/The Studio, in New Albany, IN.

Rachel is a professional belly dancer who has been recognized and awarded by Louisville Magazine for her grace and talent. Now she deserves some props for her heart felt efforts to help some needy children during the holiday season.

Rachel initiated a benefit show in 2009 called Raq’n Around the Christmas Tree. Her kind gesture has now become an annual event which provides less fortunate children with gifts at Christmas. This year marked Rachel’s third show. The Grand, located at 138 E. Market St. in New Albany, Indiana hosted the benefit performance on December 1st.

Raq’n Around the Christmas Tree ended up having 180 generous guests in attendance. There were 623 toys donated, which will benefit Aids Interfaith Ministries of Kentuckiana. All those toys will light up the faces of quite a few children on Christmas day.

Rachel was not alone in her anonymous effort to spread some good cheer for the holiday season. Her merry band of Santa’s helpers included performances by Al Hamsa, Gypsies of the Nile, Il Troubadore, Classical Choice, DJ Jack, Music on the Move Entertainment Services and Raqia’s Stars. All these entertainers willingly donated their time and talent without asking for anything in return.

Ironically, the children who benefit from the generosity of those that donated time and toys will be thinking of a jolly fat man in a red suit as their benefactor. In reality, their secret Santa’s were a group of graceful belly dancers, who twirled their hearts out just to make them smile.

It would be nice to see more incredible acts of compassion such as this taking the headlines away from shoppers using pepper spray during frenzied holiday shopping sprees.

If you’d like to see some of the amazing images from this event, you can do so by copying this link.

http://www.facebook.com/editprofile.php#!/media/set/?set=a.2722256143062.139846.1456836955&type=1