On Monday 19 August, Viva Cabaret Bar played host to an excellent evening of entertainment for a good cause, as the Urban Dance Project (UDP) hosted their Charity Showcase in aid of Kai’s New Legs Appeal. The aim is to raise money for a local three year old boy who suffers from Spastic Diplegic Cerebal Palsy which prevents him from walking independently. The family needs support to raise the £58,000 which is needed to send him to America for a much needed operation which, it is hoped, will allow him to walk unaided. As Kai’s brother is a student at the UDP, the founder, Michelle ‘Mimi’ Ramsey, was happy to organise the fundraiser to support this worthy cause.
When I arrived at the venue, punters were already queuing up outside to secure their seats. It was great to see so much support from the very beginning of the evening. You could look round the room and notice the faces of very proud parents, family and friends, all eager to see their loved ones perform. There were many flashes from cameras and bright lights from video cameras too!
Over the course of the evening we were treated to a wide variety of entertainment from street dance, breakdancing and beat-boxing to some solo singers, an acoustic guitarist/singer, pole dancing and even some conceptual dance too. The performers covered an impressive age range, from the UDP Totz to the Adult Work Out group, covering ages two to sixty.
Stand out performances for me were Laura Jean’s rendition of Emili Sande’s Clown, which was hauntingly beautiful, The Freefly Breakdance Crew with their impressive aerial stunts, mixed with breakdancing and comedy, and the UDP Advanced Group’s performances which included a conceptual piece devised by Sarah Hall, the Dance Development Officer for Blackpool Council.
As UDP is only one year old, it is very impressive to see how many people have been brought together through a love of dance, in such a short space of time. Credit for this must surely be given to its founder, Mimi, whose infectious attitude has clearly helped her to recruit dancers, both young and old. The UDP Crew must currently stand at about 85 members and it is great to see how much hard work they had all put in to support this cause. They all donated their time and completed hours of rehearsal to help make this evening a resounding success.
The event was hosted by Lionel Vinyl, who kept the crowd going throughout and even lead the audience in a much deserved standing ovation at the end of the evening. Apart from ticket sales, money was also raised via a raffle (with donations from local businesses), a cake sale and the auction of a signed Blackpool football shirt and a framed gold Oasis record. In total, the event raised over £3,500 for this worthy cause.
It is refreshing to see what can be accomplished by a community, when they are brought together with a common goal and inspiring leaders. I thoroughly enjoyed the event and even found myself dancing on my way out of the venue! It’s safe to say that Blackpool truly has Got Talent and residents who are willing to give up their time to support each other. All involved in the evening should be proud of what they have achieved, whether it was finding the confidence to get on stage or donating their time. The parents who have supported their children in taking part by providing lifts, encouragement and support deserve a big shout out too.
If you love to dance and want to get involved, more information can be found at the UDP website. There are classes for all ages and abilities.
Images courtesy of CJGriffiths Photography.
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