The safest dance on the planet

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By Adam Brazeau 
CORNWALL, Ontario - Young rockers and city cops cut loose in Cornwall Friday night.

The 10th Cops and Rockers Much Video Dance in Cornwall on May 9.

Nearly 1,000 Grade 5 to 8 students invaded the Cornwall Armoury at the 10th Cops and Rockers fundraiser for the Boys & Girls Club.

Hundreds of kids eagerly stood in line for their chance to hit the dance floor at their first major outing away from school or family.

"This is our largest year ever," said Cornwall police Chief Dan Parkinson. "I've never seen a lineup down the street like this before."

The Cops and Rockers Much Video Dance Party began in May 2005. A total of $200,000 has been raised through the event. And this year an additional $20,000 is expected to pour in.

"Over the years this has developed into a rite of passage for young students in Cornwall," he said.

Dozens of parents stood by, proudly watching as their kids got ready to cut a rug with a bunch of coppers. But cutting the cord wasn't an easy task for many. Several parents hung around outside, wanting to supervise the dance themselves and inspect every nook and cranny of the venue.

Parkinson reassured them that this event is "the safest dance on the planet."

A mix of 40 police officers and auxiliary officers as well as 30 volunteers from the Boys & Girls Club were on hand.

"It's exciting and scary," said city resident Jill Slaney.

She stood outside with her daughter, Ashley, as her 10-year-old son Adam was busy busting moves inside the armoury.

Only four short years ago, Ashley, 16, was the one dancing the night away at Cops and Rockers.

"It was my first dance," she said. "It was cool to be there. It brought everyone together, friends I hadn't seen in a long time."

Much Video Dance production team members Chris Bimmer and Jamie Bergeron travel across the country doing nearly 100 shows a year.

Bimmer has DJ'd the event for eight years, and says that it's one of the largest dances for kids in Ontario.

Jacquie Richards, executive director of the Boys & Girls Club, said the event will help pay for new equipment and fencing for the club's outdoor play space.

"This event is unique across Canada because it's kids helping kids," said Richards.

Every student in attendance coughed up $25.

"These kids have put us on the map...literally," she said.

Funds from the annual Cops and Rockers event helped purchase and renovate the Boys & Girls Club main clubhouse located at 506 First Street at the corner of Marlborough Street.

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