Dance Goes Green

Dance for a Reason partners with ELAW

When it comes to the environment, it’s best to have a light footprint like … a ballerina or an aerial dancer.

On Jan. 25, the 19th Annual Dance for a Reason will bring together the environment and dance for one evening at the Hult Center.

For nearly two decades, Dance for a Reason (DFAR) executive director Geni Morrow and her team have been putting together one of Eugene’s most eclectic dance performances showcasing regional talents from Cirque du Soleil-esque aerial numbers to the Eugene Youth Ballet’s Led Zeppelin piece to King Krew’s hip-hop choreography. Moreover, the event brings the community together in an effort to raise money for a hand-selected, grassroots nonprofit organization, from Womenspace to Heurto de la Familia to Joint Forces/DanceAbility (for which the event raised $7,500 in 2012).

This year the beneficiary will be the Environmental Law Alliance Worldwide (ELAW), an international organization that assists environmental lawyers around the globe in protecting the environment and natural resources of their home countries.

“It started out with a handful of friends and performance groups, now we’re bringing people in from all of Oregon, not just Eugene,” Morrow says. Money is not the only form of donation; all dancers and performers are volunteering their time as well. New to the fundraising event this year are Kindred Tribal Belly Dance, Dance Theatre of Oregon, All That! Dance Co., The Crazy Diamonds Hoop Troupe and Cuban salsa dancer Dale Tumbao. Morrow says, “We’ll have everything from hip hop to ballet, modern to salsa, comic relief to belly dancing and beyond. Even folks that are not necessarily dance fans come back year after year.”

The local community is central to DFAR’s purpose. “It brings the audience members and movement groups from around Eugene together in one place,” she says. “It’s all about showing what we have here in the community.”

ELAW Communications Director Maggie Keenan says that being chosen by DFARs this year is “a great opportunity to collaborate with another Eugene nonprofit … We’ve both been here for a long time, and it’s great to come together and get the message out there about our work.”

Although ELAW is an international alliance, Keenan says, “We bring global diversity to our community and Dance for a Reason helps us bring the importance of that message to our local community.”

Before the performance, ELAW Executive Director Bern Johnson will speak to the audience about the organization’s work both locally and internationally, and how Eugene is a hub for environmental law. Current international fellow Bazarsad Nanjindorj of Mongolia will be in attendance alongside the ELAW staff of Eugene. “Public-interest environmental lawyers from around the world love to come here and work with us and other people in Eugene,” Johnson says. “The people of Eugene really embrace our visiting fellows and help make it a great experience to come here and work with us to protect the environment through law and science.”

Dance for a Reason will also be collecting nonperishable food items for Food for Lane County at the event.

The 19th Annual Dance for a Reason begins 7:30 pm Friday, Jan. 25, at the Silva Concert Hall, Hult Center; $17.50 adv., $20 door. ELAW will host a reception at 6:30 pm in the lobby of the Soreng Theatre.

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