South Miami Senior High School’s Magnet Dance program presented “Dancing for a Cure” on November 18 in the school gymnasium.
Now in its second year, the event is described as “a dance concert to honor, remember and fight for all the lives touched by cancer,” said Isabel Diaz-Almaraz Magnet Dance Director, adding the idea was born a year ago when Saraha Munoz, a student, wanted to bring awareness to cancer.
In an era where shows like Glee and Dancing with the Stars dominate television, a dancing event felt was believed both relevant and strikingly poignant, she explained.
Dancers began the show by handing out white roses to audience members who were asked to stand if affected by cancer in any way while cast members danced to the tune “Keep Holding On.”. The song also used in the closing act was lyrically perfect to relay the message the dancers were hoping to send.
Speakers included Lissette Garcia, Miss Florida USA 2011, who welcomed guests with Sahara Munoz, project creator, and Yomayra Mora of the American Cancer Society, recipient of all event proceeds.
“Our main focus is to help them students as much as possible by promoting the event and reaching out to our contacts,” said Mora, a graduate of South Miami High. Catherine Mendoza, South Miami French teacher and a cancer survivor, commented, “I just want to tell you all that there is hope. And I’m very touched by the young men and women here tonight dancing for cancer.”
Sarah Gonzalez, a student who lost her father nine months ago due to leukemia told the audience “I know this good energy and faith will help us find a cure, and my Dad would be very proud of this day.”
A wide range of finely-choreographed dances, both solo and group performances, included a solo ballad and fiery dance number by the South Miami “Chargers.”
As dance director, Diaz-Almaraz’s priority in 2010 was obtaining guest dancers. “I really focus on getting other students and kids from other dance studios to dance, sing or participate in the event. I was happiest with other people from the county and different schools participating.”
Hoping to expand the event each year, Diaz-Almaraz has reached out to the School Board and City of South Miami officials for involvement. “Some day we will have a bigger venue than our gym,” she added. “We can start out in South Miami and eventually incorporate other areas of Miami. I really want this to be a whole community event.”