More Than a Room fundraiser to celebrate 10 years Thursday evening

Submitted Photo The original 13 dancers who began the PACI Dance Program’s More Than a Room fundraiser in 2013.

The Prince Albert Collegiate Institute (PACI) Dance Program will celebrate the 10th anniversary of its More Than a Room fundraiser with a performance on Thursday evening at the EA Rawlinson Centre.

More Than a Room began a decade ago to raise money for converting a classroom into a professional dance studio. Since then, the event has helped pay for costumes, workshops, travel to competitions, and guest choreographers.

PACI Dance teacher Alicia Wotherspoon said they were challenged by using a shared gym space as a dance studio during the 2012-2013 school year. They were determined to change that, so Wotherspoon and a group of 13 students organized bottle drives, volunteered at bingos, and eventually put together the initial More Than a Room fundraiser.

“Around a month after the first show, I had the opportunity to meet with a PACI alumnus, Gary Anderson. I shared my vision for the PACI Dance Program with him, and he decided to take a chance on a first-year teacher’s dream,” Wotherspoon said. “I am forever grateful for his trust in me and for the hard work of the original thirteen dancers. Now the fundraiser helps us sustain the program for the following year.”

Students have worked all year to prepare for Thursday’s show. Wotherspoon said the dance program is a passion of hers, and one she’s happy to share with her students.

She said the program gives students of all backgrounds and skill levels the opportunity to take dance classes and earn three Arts Ed credits.

Wotherspoon said she’s extremely grateful to have the opportunity to work with students and share her love of dance. She said it brings out so many different feelings and emotions, and she’s glad she can be a part of it.

“I am grateful for the countless memories and moments the dancers and I have spent together,” she said. “Reaching the ten-year mark, I am especially proud that it means a decade of making dance accessible to all students. I see how dance has the power to transform and change people’s lives, and am honoured to contribute to, and witness students’ growth not only as dancers, but as people.”

Graduating student dancer, Paige Smith said the classes not only give her a creative outlet but they have also given her self-assurance.

“Dance has truly given me confidence in myself and the way I perform. I perform not only in dance, but in drama and in school and the way I am with people,” she said.

The dance program provides Smith with joy in coming to school.

“I feel like I have accepted myself more after gaining knowledge on how to dance,” Smith said. “It’s my favourite way to express myself.”

The More Than a Room fundraiser will be on Thursday, May 25 at the EA Rawlinson Centre. Student performances will be done by the dance program, the Dance Team, and Alumni dancers.

There will also be guest appearances Rebecca Anderson, Rylan Schultz, as well as Birch Hills Dance Centre and King George Dancers.

Wotherspoon added that there is a silent auction filled with amazing donations from community members and locally owned businesses.

The doors opening at 7 p.m. and the show scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available at the box office and online.