On Sunday, March 7, at 5 p.m.,Wheeling Orchesis will team with the Arlington Dance Ensemble for the 16th annual Dance for Life's Next Generation. This year's benefit, held in Wheeling High School's Sang Theater, will be emceed by Scott Corchin (WHS Orchesis alumni and on air personality at Kiss 103.5) and Lizzie MacKenzie (River North Dance Chicago). All proceeds will be donated to the Dance for Life Fund and The Children's Place Association, organizations dedicated to the support of those living with HIV/AIDS.
Diane Rawlinson is the founder and co-artistic director of its Dance For Life’s affiliated youth benefit concert (Dance For Life’s Next Generation) since 1995. This year’s benefit features alot of friends of All Over The Place Records -- aotpr artist D. Jeremy is an alumnus of Wheeling Orchesis, of which Diane is the director. Lizzie MacKenzie is co-hosting the event with Scott Corchin, who is featured in the D. Jeremy video for “Loser”, and plays on D. Jeremy’s track “Feel The Love”. Finally, the event features a performance by Extensions Dance Company, performing Lizzie MacKenzie’s new work “Time Now”, to an original ‘ohana Dreamdance score written by Dan Agosto and Johnny Nevin.
The background work and set-up for a show like this must be an immense undertaking, and although this may be the busiest week of her year, Diane took the time to answer a couple of questions aotpr.com asked her about the project. First, we wondered who does all of the work that goes into this?
“We all volunteer on the event. Linda MacDonald handles the tickets and adult volunteers. I handle program, ads, and everything taking place in the theatre. Lizzie solicits many of the raffle items. The WHS Orchesis dancers and a few WHS student volunteers run all aspects of the show, calling lighting, stage managing, changing lighting gels backstage, greeters, raffle, usher, etc.”
After sixteen years of keeping all of this going, we thought it would be interesting to get Diane’s perspective on the time-line of such an effort, how it’s developed through all of the different presentations. She told us:
“Over 16 years much has changed regarding the involvement of other companies doing more "pre-benefit" fundraising. I've also had my own sons go from being small children (and in Kyle's case, not even born) to actually performing in the show when they were part of Libertyville HS Orchesis. Kyle will be doing some filming this year to put together a promotional DVD about the benefit. In 2008 NBC PREPWIRE did a feature on the benefit. We've also seen the support from Dance for Life board members grow over the years. It's been interesting to watch young dancers perform in our benefit, then to see them years later part of the professional community. We have so many companies that want to be involved year after year, we can't accommodate all of them. But those that have participated long term have been an integral part of the success of the benefit.”
For tickets contact Linda McDonald at (847) 342-1060. Companies scheduled to appear in this year's benefit are: Arlington Dance Ensemble (Arlington Heights), Chicago Academy of the Arts, Dance Exchange (Buffalo Grove), Dance Workshop Dance Company (La Grange), Extensions Dance Company (Chicago), Forum Jazz Dance Theatre (Libertyville), Inaside Youth Training Program (Chicago), Libertyville High School Orchesis, Loyola Academy Dance Company (Wilmette), Matrix Dance Improv (Oak Park), Riverside/Brookfield High School Repertory Dance, and Wheeling High School Orchesis.