article originally seen at Red and Black online
“Spread the Love” — literally.
The second annual benefit show — which features various styles of dance, including hip-hop and burlesque — is once again asking locals to support a local problem.
“It’s going to be really high-energy,” said Grace Bagwell, head of participating company the Modern Pin Ups.
Held at the 40 Watt downtown, “Spread the Love” will donate all proceeds to the Athens Area Homeless Shelter for the second year.
The main part of the show will be movement: The Modern Pin Ups and Sweet Dreams will dance a combination of original and older pieces, and they will be followed by other dance companies traveling from as far as Charleston, S.C.
An improvement from last year, there are many different acts from many different areas involved this year.
“Last year I had to really make an effort,” said senior Katie Otto, who is head of Sweet Dreams. “This year people really want to be involved.”
About 20 dance pieces will be intermittently spaced out during the show with singing, raffles and crowd interaction.
But Otto said the centerpiece of the show is special: professional dance.
“It’s something Athens doesn’t really offer a whole lot,” she said. “This is the kind of dancing you would see at a show in L.A. It’s art. It’s not mechanically put together — it’s much more intimate than that.”
Along with the dance theme, an atmosphere of love will characterize the show.
“There is going to be great music — it’s going to be bumpin’ the whole time,” Otto said. “It’s going to be romantic, but not in an in-your-face kind of way, because that’s not what it’s about. It will be about spreading and celebrating love in our community.”
Otto had always wanted to find a special way to help her community; and the idea to dance for the homeless struck her last year after she met and talked with one homeless man.
“I was talking to a homeless man who used to hang out right outside of Publix,” Otto said. “We were just talking about how much he liked music, and that just weighed really heavy on my heart the whole day. Then, I thought of this way to raise money doing something I was good at, and dance has always been in my life.”
Last year, the event succeeded even after a quick set-up. After bills, it raised about $700 to go straight to the cause, Otto said.
“I remember the day I got to bring that check to the homeless shelter,” she said. “It was so rewarding. I’m excited this year because we raised the ticket prices, and it is all going to the homeless shelter. If anyone needs it right now, it’s them.”
Those at the AAHS were plesantly surprised.
“It is unexpected,” said Shea Post, AAHS’ executive director, “but we are always thrilled when people in the community want to help us, so any event that the community can put on is always helpful.”
The home-grown performance asks for a little help to aid a home-grown problem, but it won’t leave the audience without a reward.
“First and foremost, come out because it’s going to be a good time,” Bagwell said.
Otto is convinced the event will be so compelling, audience won’t want to leave.
“I know if I can get people in the door,” she said, “they’ll want to come back. Everyone who was there last year is coming back.”
“SPREAD THE LOVE”
When: Tonight at 8 p.m.
Where: 40 Watt