Dance the Day away in support of SASS

Image of Shawna O'Neill
By Shawna O'Neill
Dance the Day away in support of SASS
Dancers will meet in Riverdale Park on Aug. 24.

CORNWALL, Ontario – For the first time ever, Sexual Assault Support Services (SASS) for women of SDG&A is hoping to entice locals to Riverdale Park on Saturday, Aug. 24 where they can watch and learn different styles of dance and movement.

The free, public event will feature professional dancers of Ottawa and Cornwall from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., with some performing a routine and others teaching a brief class. Donations are welcome during the event as funds continue to benefit various SASS initiatives, like bi-monthly support groups where refreshments are provided and weekly healing art group sessions where supplies are needed.

“Typically, at this time of year, we have several events going on,” said Organizer Amanda Marini-Rohde, referring to activities and fundraisers like SASS’s Chalk Walk, held on Thursday, Aug. 15.

Marini-Rohde, who has a passion for dance and will be performing during the event, feels that the art form is a unique way in which humans can communicate and understand each other.

“I find dance itself is a way of communicating without speaking, and all too often it is sexualized (in media),” said Marini-Rohde. “It’s important not to sexualize (dance)…it’s an empowering act in itself, left for interpretation, and it’s a beautiful thing for people to come together and dance together, and be empowered through moving their bodies.”

Various styles of dance will be showcased during the event, including traditional styles, folk and variations of contemporary, all drawing from different influences around the world. Apart from Marini-Rohde, notable dancers will include the following:

Mizuki Hoshino, a dance artist from Tokyo, Japan who attended The School of Contemporary Dance Program from 2002-2004. She has appeared in and choreographed pieces in the Guelph Contemporary Dance Festival, among many productions.

Mary Catherine Jack, an independant dance artist, is passionate about movement as a pilates and dance instructor, hoping for her students and clients to achieve wellness that will last a lifetime.

Mélanie Bennett, a dance theatre artist, translator, policy analyst, and previously as a teacher, has studied and danced in France, Japan, Cameroon, Morocco and India upon leaving Turtle Island. Mélanie’s dance theatre works and research are influenced by voices of Indigenous, francophone, racialised, disabled, queer women and persons.

Jaz Mystic Priestess, a spiritual coach and teacher, is certified in crystal healing, reiki, tarot reading and soul realignment. Jaz helps others shift from a ‘stuck’ flow, empowering others in their path to inner peace.

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