Local Non- Profit Dance Company mounts powerful production uniting Bucks County and Kenya communities

Spirit in Motion Ballet Theater announces

“Dances of Hope & Madeline”

A performance to help build a water well in Kenya and awareness here at home.

The Pennsylvania School for the Performing Arts, home to non-profit dance company Spirit in Motion Ballet Theater of Wrightstown, will be premiering “Dances of Hope & Madeline” in matinee performances on June 14th & 15th at 2:30 pm at the Library Auditorium of Bucks County Community College.

SIMBT has been performing in the community for over a decade. Previous productions include serious examinations of social importance such as Remember the Children (about the children of the Holocaust and the triumph of the human spirit) and Through the Looking Glass (about the effect of violence in our society and media on our children), in addition to lighthearted shows including Peter Pan and Newsies. SIMBT has helped many local non-profits, including The Salvation Army of Langhorne, Phila.Children’s Hospital, and the Bucks County Housing Project.

“Dances of Hope & Madeline” embraces both of these concepts. The performance will help to raise funds for a life giving water well in Kenya.

Powerful and deeply affecting, “Dances of Hope” will focus on the need to help the less fortunate as close as Bucks County and as far as Kenya. “Madeline” is the playful and uplifting tale of a very small girl capable of great big things!

Artistic Director and founder Terri Garcia-Lee, of SIMBT/PSPA, has always provided a pre-professional training environment that inspires students to use dance as a form of expression and to improve the world around them. Her students range in age from 3 to 17 and study the arts of dance, acting and singing. This year, she embraces the mission of Kristen Scott, a dancer with the American Repertory Ballet.

Ms. Scott spent seven weeks living in Kenya last summer, working with orphans and people affected by HIV. She says “because the crisis in Africa is so intense, progress won’t be made (on things like the AIDS epidemic, providing clean water, etc.) until a great number of people get involved in doing something about it. We are a nation of abundance, and I believe in sharing what we have with those less fortunate.” Come Unity is the result of her experience. A non-profit organization, Come Unity assists dance organizations like SIMBT in raising funds for a water well in Kenya. This life giving well will provide clean water to be used for washing, cleaning, cooking and drinking.

SIMBT/PSPA will donate money raised from all concessions and a bake sale to Come Unity. Items for sale have been provided by the families of SIMBT.

Dances of Hope & Madeline on Saturday June 14th & Sunday June 15th at 2:30 at Bucks County Community College. Tickets on sale now at: www.simbt.org : Adults :$22 Child /Seniors/Military: $19 more information about Summer Musical Theater Programs & Spirit In Motion and The Pennsylvania School of The Performing Arts, please visit: www.simbt.org or call 215.598.8513 .

Kristen Scott
It began in the spring of 2007. I started dreaming about spending my summer break with AIDS orphans in Kenya. I approached my fellow dancers with an idea. The cost of the volunteer program, the travel and my desire to bring extra funds to give to the people I met in Kenya exceeded my small dancer budget. So, we started planning. The other dancers were more than willing to help. They choreographed, danced, baked cookies, hung lights, contacted
the media, set up http://www.freewebs.com/comeunity/kenya%20076.jpg chairs and got everyone else around excited about what we were doing. In the end we raised nearly $6000. The program cost nothing to produce so all the profit could go towards the cause.

I took the money with me to Kenya and as I found my way into a culture so very far away from our own I was overwhelmed with where to start helping. Even small children who don’t know English say as I passed by on the street, “Sponsor me!” Some of the children in communities I visited in Kenya had literally never seen a white person. Kenyans didn’t have a poor perception of Americans or foreigners, but generally foreigners are well received under the assumption that they are probably there to help. Nearly everyday someone told me about their life and how they needed help. Their stories were heartbreaking, but I almost grew numb listening to them because I didn’t know what to do. It was overwhelming. I wish I could have helped them all. Most days in Kenya I could keep in the front of my mind that I was there to do what I could. I could help those I was able to, and I could pray for the rest. Most days I held it together. Some days I did not. I went to visit Brian Irungu’s home. Brian was our student at school and one
of the happiest boys I think I ever met. He smiled constantly and was one of the few regularly dangling from my arms throughout the school day, desperate for love and attention. His mom welcomed us into their home, proud to have some ‘muzungus’ (or white people) there for a visit. Inside there was nothing but a mound of laundry on the floor. That is where they slept. As we left my breaking heart couldn’t be contained anymore and tears just poured from my eyes at the condition of this family and so many others just like them.

The money we raised bought mattresses for Brian Irungu’s family. We paid teacher’s salaries for three months, bought firewood to cook food at the orphanage, purchased backpacks for kids who carried plastic bags to school, we took sick kids to the hospital and repaid debt to some farmers who fed the orphans even when there wasn’t money to buy food. I saw the look in their eyes as I offered them what we had to give them. Susan from the HIV test clinic at the orphanage wrote me this: “The most important achievement in life is not the wealth or status we attain but the number of people whose lives we touch- whose self esteem we have enhanced. THANK YOU for doing that to me. God bless your friends and you mightily.”

My visit to Kenya was extremely impacting, and I gained an understanding about how hard nations of people have it there. Poverty is a
http://www.freewebs.com/comeunity/Copy%20of%20images%5b15%5d.jpg way of life.
AIDS is everywhere, corruption breaks down good on every level of life. I feel like I left the kids behind in such dire situations, and I want to continue to do all I can do help them. They aren’t just unknowns to feel sorry for anymore, they are friends and real children with names. Mary
Wangari, Brian Irungu, Christopher Mutua. Things won’t begin to change in Africa until a great number of people get involved.

In the US, we are a people who can have almost anything we want. Did you know that 25% of the world’s wealthy goes to 75% of the people, and 75% of the world’s wealth goes to 25% of the people. We have the ability to do so much for them. We are a nation of great abundance, and I really believe that we what we have been given was meant to be shared. Let’s get committed to giving everyone an ample opportunity for self-sustaining life! What better way to help someone else than through the gifts and abilities we’ve been given?

Here’s a few more facts about Africa:

– More than 300 million people in Africa (nearly half it’s
population) live on less than $1 USD a day.

– 6,300 people die everyday in Africa of AIDS and there are 12
million children who have lost a parent to AIDS.

– Africa is home of 34 of the world’s 49 poorest countries.

– Nearly 80% of the diseases in developing countries are related to
poor unsafe drinking water.

– In the past 10 years diarrhea has killed more children worldwide
then all the people lost in armed conflict since WWII, due to poor drinking
water and unsanitary conditions..

In this day in age children should not be dying of diarrhea. We have the ability to give them clean water by building a well. Education is an answer to the grip that poverty has on millions of people. We have the ability to help give them education by building schools and paying teachers and providing a meal. Children should not be going hungry. You would be surprised how little it costs to feed many many children a day, we have the resources to do so. This is important! Your group can help make a difference.

Two communities changed

The thing I love most about the COME UNITY concept is that two communities are revolutionized. The communities in Africa receive some basic staples they need for survival. They benefit from the funds we raise; they receive food, firewood, mattresses, backpacks, medicine, a monthly salary, etc. But our communities in the USA are changed as well. As Westerners we can easily be self-focused, driven and motivated people interested in climbing the corporate ladder or having the white picket fence. We often overlook the needs of those less fortunate. And therefore, don’t take action in doing anything about it. Our community was bonded together in the process of doing something together to help someone else. Dancers endeavored to use other talents and passions (baking, organizing, speaking skills, etc) to see
COME UNITY be successful. The audience was educated about the current struggles of Kenya and walked away from a really cool dance performance inspired to get involved and do something about it. It felt really great to do something for someone else, and that is something priceless.

A quote from Jena Lee’s “Hope in the Darkness” says it all.

“‘We know that Americans pity Africans,’ he told me. ‘But sometimes I think Africans pity Americans.’ “How so?’ I asked him. ‘Americans seem to expect that everything will be provided for them. For us,’ he said, ‘this ear of corn is a gift from God. This evening rain is a shower of mercy upon us. This healthy breath is life giving. And maybe tomorrow we will not have such things, but our hearts are so full from God’s provision.”

simbt is a 501-c3 org

Terri Lee – Director
Spirit in Motion Ballet Theater
The Pa. School of the Performing Arts
2324 Second Street Pike
Wrightstown, Pa.18940

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