For the past nine years, Dance de Rock has combined social dance with fundraising for Comox Valley cancer charities.
This year’s event last month at the Florence Filberg Centre — was made even more special when organizers and dancers reached a nine-year total of $100,000 raised.
“I’ve said this before, and I’ll keep saying it – we look forward to this weekend every year,” says Keith Foraie, who along with wife Holly, started Dance de Rock nine years ago.
“The instructors are amazing, the dancers are amazing, and the volunteers are amazing. And through the generosity of all of these people, we’ve reached one of the goals we set when we started this event — 10 years or $100,000.”
The weekend kicked off on Friday night with workshops, instructor dance demonstrations, and a friendly “Jack ‘n Jill” dance competition where local dancers had the opportunity to show off their dance skills.
The highlight of the weekend, however, is always the Saturday night gala, when everyone comes together for a banquet dinner and the traditional head shave fundraiser.
This year, instructors Mario Robau, Gerald Coté, Jim Minty and organizer Foraie stepped up for the cause, and raised over $3,000 for Tour de Rock. The headshave was made all the more fun by the fact the instructors were shaved by their wives, and Foraie by Valley dancer and cancer survivor Kymme Patrick.
Other Valley charities — like the women’s cancer survivor dragon boat team Hope A Float — will receive donations raised through raffles and proceeds from the registration fees.
However, Foraie does not judge the weekend just by the amount of money raised. It’s also about how much instructors and dancers enjoyed themselves.
“When you have people of the calibre of dancers like Mario and Stephanie, Gerald and Robin and Jim Minty instructing, it’s amazing for everyone,” says Foraie. “And they say to have this level of dance in a small community like this is incredible.
“They were very impressed with all the weekend’s participants and the chance to help them improve — or in the case of the beginners who came out — help get them get started dancing in the best possible way.”
The participants certainly agree.
“This was the dance event of the year,” says Ken Snyder, a Valley dancer and longtime participant at Dance de Rock. “We were so lucky to have some of the best swing instructors in North America come to the Comox Valley. It was such a learning experience, and such a fantastic time for everyone.”
“What I like about the weekend was the opportunity to combine my love of dance, laughter, food and FUNdraising all in one,” agrees Loretta Tenisci Semple.
For more information, go to www.dancederock.ca or contact Keith or Holly Foraie by phone at 250-871-2513 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
— Keith and Holly Foraie