Point Park Dance Club performs to raise money for Team Brother Bear Benefit

Written By Alexandra Zegar

On Oct. 23, members of Point Park University’s Dance Club came together to raise $425 for Team Brother Bear, a charity which helps those coping with brain tumors.  The third annual Team Brother Bear Benefit featured a performance with student-choreographed numbers of a variety of styles, along with a silent auction and raffle. The Point Park Dance Club has a special connection to Team Brother Bear. It was founded by dance alumnus and former Dance Club member, Addison Brasil, in honor of his brother, Austin, who tragically passed away from a brain tumor. A portion of the money raised at the event goes to the Brain Research and Innovation Now (B.R.A.I.N.) Foundation, Inc., which gives money to research, while the rest is given to support the families of those affected by brain tumors.Senior dance major and Dance Club President Abigail Adkins said the benefit becomes “progressively more and more successful each year.  It becomes a wider event.”   The night started with a silent auction and raffle. There was no set ticket price for the performance, but anyone could make a donation to Team Brother Bear at the door. Guests could also bid on silent auction items such as CLO tickets, baked goods and fitness products, or they could enter a raffle for various prizes.To participate in the show, any students who wanted to choreograph had a few weeks to compose their pieces, with the only guideline being that they were upbeat. This parameter posed a challenge for some choreographers, such as freshman dance major Meagan Ward. “This was really challenging, in a way, to make it uplifting,” she said. She certainly rose to the challenge, with her group contemporary modern piece to Sigur Ros’s “Gobbledigook.” She explained that one of her favorite parts of choreographing for this benefit was working with her “new freshman cast,” who each participated in the benefit for the first time.  A variety of dance styles were represented in this year’s performance.  Several choreographers chose to tackle jazz dance for their pieces, including junior dance major John Litzler and sophomore dance major Cody Szarko, whose piece to “Blackbird” featured seven dancers in black mimicking sharp, bird-inspired movements.  It was followed by senior dance major Eddie Corley’s “Life’s Still Glamorous,” in which a large group of dancers moved through intricate choreography and posed to the cheers of the audience. There were three duets in the performance.  The first duet of the night was danced by sophomore dance majors Kelly Ramis and Dennis Davis, a contemporary piece to “Swans” by Unkle Bob.  Sophomore dance major Laurel Bashore and Darren McArthur’s unique duet “Take the Compliment” incorporated spoken word and innovative costuming as the two danced out the tumultuous feelings of a relationship. The third duet did not feature dancing, but singing, as senior dance major Gabriella Sorrentino and senior musical theater major Thomas Green sang the uplifting tune “The Prayer” by Celine Dion and Andrea Bocelli. Junior forensic science major KiLeigh Williams showcased an often overlooked style in her piece: tap dance, performing to “End of Time” by Beyonce. For Williams and others in her piece, the benefit provided an opportunity to perform, which they do not often receive at Point Park. “I used a lot of people who aren’t dance majors,” Williams explained. “It was nice because I got to use a lot of people who don’t usually get to perform here.”This opportunity is one of the reasons that the Team Brother Bear Benefit is one of Williams’ “favorite shows” of the year.Junior dance major Elisa-Marie Alaio choreographed two pieces in the performance, each with something unique to surprise the audience.  Her first act closer, “Euphoria,” was futuristic and high-tech, with dancers sporting glowsticks on their wrists and throwing some into the audience.  Her dance “Insecta” had dancers in swim-cap-like hats and flesh-toned dancewear, and incorporated paint.To end the night, the fierce and sassy Impulse Hip Hop Dance Team danced to a mix of popular songs by Beyonce, Keri Hilson, LMFAO and Jessie J.