Entertainment

Dance competition aims to raise money for typhoon victims in the Philippines

Noah Delmundo performs with Vibrant Dance Studio. - Photo Contributed
Noah Delmundo performs with Vibrant Dance Studio.
— image credit: Photo Contributed

A local dance studio has partnered with a dance team from the Lower Mainland in an effort to raise money for the Philippines.

Vibrant Dance Studios has teamed up with Surrey, B.C.’s popping dance team Heavy Hittaz to create BattleZone Nanaimo, a dance event that will take place on Friday (Feb. 28) at Vancouver Island University.

Organizer and Vibrant Dance Studios owner Serra Stewart said money raised from Friday’s event at Vancouver Island University will go directly toward the ongoing relief efforts in the Philippines.

“All the funds raised are going towards the Red Cross and specifically towards the relief in the Philippines. There is going to be a volunteer from the Red Cross coming in around 7 p.m. and we’re hoping to present a cheque,” Stewart said.

BattleZone Nanaimo is a freestyle dance competition that allows members of the public to showcase their dance skills for roughly 30 seconds. The event will also feature professional hip-hop and popping dancers as well as a free, interactive workshop.

“It’s always an inspiring event,” Stewart said. “There are professional dancers that come over from Vancouver to battle with the kids and it’s kind of neat because they can see where they can go with their training.”

The nine-member dance team, Heavy Hittaz, was formed in 2010 and has since become a highly regarded popping dance team in North America.

The Surrey-based team has preformed in various cities throughout the continent, including Los Angeles, Toronto, Halifax, Montreal and New York.

“Popping is when you basically pop your muscles,” Stewart explained. “So It’s like flex your muscles really fast and it kind of looks like they’re vibrating when they move. It’s really cool.”

This is not the first time Vibrant Dance Studios and Heavy Hittaz have teamed up for a good cause.

Last year they raised more than $1,500 to build a cafeteria for Rwentutu primary school in Uganda.

“It’s really cool to do this kind of thing,” Stewart said. “I think it’s so important for the kids in my studio to learn about helping others out. It’s kind of neat because when you present the cheque and they find out how much money they raised you see how excited they are in their faces.”

Although the event is considered a dance competition, Stewart said it’s largely about having fun.

“It’s so positive too. Even when they’re battling,” Stewart said. “It’s not aggressive or angry. It’s always ‘good job’ and whenever they’re done there is always a handshake or a hug.”

BattleZone Nanaimo has received support from a variety of sources. Vancouver Island University provided the gym to Vibrant  at no cost.

The university’s theatre department also provided lights for the event. Harbour City Music donated the sound system and Stewart has received support from within her dance studio.

“I have some amazing support in my studio,” Stewart said. “I have parents that feed the guests and it keeps them happy.”

BattleZone Nanaimo takes place at Vancouver Island University’s Gymnasium on Friday (Feb. 28) from 3:30-10:30 p.m.

Tickets are $10 for those wanting to participate in the dance competition and $15 for general admission.

More information on the event can be found at http://on.fb.me/MSysKI

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