GARRETTSVILLE - Stomping, tapping and soaring in the rhythm to rebuild, dance troupes from across the area raised about $4,000 to support the village at a fundraising showcase held in Garfield Middle School Friday evening.
More than a half-dozen dance teams performed at the sold-out event supporting the 13 Main Street businesses that were destroyed by fire late last month.
"There's more pressure since everyone from my hometown is watching, but it's more important than a competition," Emily Kontur said.
A recent graduate of the Garrettsville school system, Kontur performed a solo piece to Christina Aguilera's "Say Something." As MC and show organizer, Ed Ridenbaugh noted between performances that many of the songs chosen had lyrics reflective of the attitudes in the crowd: hope and determination.
High-energy performances by brightly clothed children and teens captivated the audience's attention. Besides dance performances, Melissa Cook sang, and the Street Beats and Geauga Highlanders performed musical talents.
"It's nice that everyone donated all their time, let alone all their money ... and the kids get to feel like they are part of it," Tami Butto said.
Butto is a dance mom with the Garrettsville-based 8th Count Dance Studio. She and others gathered during intermission near a basket raffle to discuss the village and performances.
"It's devastating. My father lives with me, and he'll be 100 and he's seen everything in this town," Becky Miller said.
Nevertheless she said the town has always bound together in times of need. It's the reason Ridenbaugh decided to hold the fundraiser.
"I was like I can't just sit back and do nothing," he said.
Growing up in Windham, he said he had fond memories of bowling in the village he referred to as "G-ville." Ridenbaugh performed the opening dance with his daughter. The event was sponsored by Ridenbaugh's company PMG Chocolatier, as well as Wedding Clicker and Garrettsville Regional Chamber.
Though the fire shocked many in the village, they didn't take long to begin support efforts to rebuild. The town - like the dance show - must go on.