Studio West Dance Academy Announces Charity Gala Showcasing Performers From The South Puget Sound Area



Submitted by Studio West Dance Academy

The cycle of art includes vision, creation, connection.  It begins with an individual artist and a moment of inspiration.  In the days, weeks, and months that follow… the creation grows.  Finally, it is ready to be shared with an audience of supporters.  Studio West Dance Academy’s directors, MC Zechmann and Stephanie Wood have expanded this loop to include caring for our community.

Each spring, for the last five years, they have held ‘Dance to Make a Difference’, an evening that features dance companies from across the Puget Sound, with a goal of raising money for those in need.  In 2012, they raised $1425.00 for the Hands On Children’s Museum and in 2011 they were able to donate $2500.00 to Mercy Corps and Northwest Harvest.

This year’s ‘Dance to Make a Difference’ takes place on Saturday, February 16th at the Kenneth J Minnaert Center for the Arts at SPSCC.   And all of the net-proceeds will benefit SafePlace, “the only advocacy agency and confidential shelter for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault in Thurston County.”

Says SafePlace’s Development Director Thomasina Cooper “SafePlace is honored to be the beneficiary of the Dance to Make a Difference.  The generosity of businesses like Studio West and community members who attend events like the dance have a huge impact at SafePlace.  Not only do the funds support critical services offered 24/7 like our hotline and in-person sexual assault response, but more importantly, sends a message that people in our community support those surviving sexual and domestic violence.  This message makes a world of difference to the individuals and families who seek our services.”

‘Dance to Make a Difference’ gathers performers from all over the South Puget Sound area.  This year Studio West Dance Theatre will be joined by Ballet Northwest, Southwest Washington Dance Ensemble, and Washington Contemporary Ballet.

Says MC Zechmann, “It’s a chance for the students to come together from all over and meet other dancers, watch other performers as well as see the different choreography styles.  In addition to this awesome dance collaboration, we hope this gala shows our young performers they can make a difference.”

Helping dancers see beyond their own experiences is an important piece of the puzzle as well.  For Zechmann and Wood, the mission of their business goes beyond training dancers – they see the importance of nurturing the whole student.  Dance to Make a Difference is one of the ways in which they do so.

“It’s important to us that our dancers contribute to the world around them.  We like the dancers to see that they can take what they love, what they are passionate about, and use it to help those around them in their community.  For the attendees, this event will be an elegant philanthropic evening, filled with live music, delicious appetizers, vino and of course a beautiful dance performance ” adds Wood.

So while it may be billed as an opportunity to benefit a non-profit, the benefit circles back around to the dancers as well.  And so the link continues – from artist to audience to community.

To see Studio West and all the dancers, as well as support SafePlace, you can purchase tickets to ‘Dance To Make A Difference’ by visiting

The Gala takes place on Saturday, February 16th at the Kenneth J Minnaert Center for the Arts at SPSCC and tickets for the appetizers, wine, live music and dance range $30-$40.  Doors open at 6 pm and performances on the main stage begin at 8 pm.

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