Dance helps those battling serious illnesses

WARREN — What started 17 years ago as a dance program at Liberty High School to raise funds for firefighters in New York City following the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks has grown to a three-hour event featuring 14 area dance studios raising funds for seriously ill residents.

The 17th annual Dancing for Others will be 6 p.m. Jan. 27 at Packard Music Hall.,

Donna Crean, event organizer, said nine dance studios participated last year and this year, the number has grown to 14 studios from Trumbull and Mahoning counties.

Scheduled to perform are DC Dance and Gym; Patti Finnelli’s School of Dance; Dynamic Dance Center; The Dance Space; Jill’s Dance Shop; Joan’s Dance Academy; Jo Marie School of Dance and Gymnastics; Natalie’s Dance Company; Innovative Dance Center; Steppin Out Dance Center; Jeannette’s School of Dance; Epic Dance Company; Studio 32 Dance; and Dance Dimensions.

”It’s exciting that we have so many participants and so many people who attend,” said Crean of the reason the show moved to Packard Music Hall, which has more space.

Patti Finelli, a co-organizer, said she liked the idea that while the dancers get to showcase their talent they are helping to raise funds for people who are battling serious health and life-threatening issues.

Last year’s event raised $16,000 and helped an infant battling leukemia, and a child and adult battling cancer. Crean said money is used to help with medical bills.

Crean and Finelli, both dance teachers, said the event would not be possible without the teachers, students, community and local dance studios.

“After the first year, we decided to focus on helping local people needing help,” she said.

Crean said all the studios that have participated in prior years return each year to share their talents while helping others.

“We have a great group of dancers and studios that have always been part of this,” she said.

Admission is $5 per person.