A local dance company hopes to use its skills to raise awareness about domestic violence and child abuse in the Wiregrass with an activity fair and concert.

“Be the Light” will be presented by Patti Rutland Jazz Dance Company on Sunday, Sept. 29, at the Patti Rutland Jazz Dance Center in Dothan. Working with other local groups and businesses, the dance company will host an activity fair as well as the performance that evening.

“We can artistically bring about awareness of people who are going through these dark times,” said Christina Green Hicks, the dance company’s artistic director. “We’ll take you on a journey through a couple of people’s personal testimonies, and we hope to bring about love and light and hope from everything that we do.”

Proceeds from the activity fair and dance concert will benefit The Exchange Center for Child Abuse Prevention, the House of Ruth and the Southeast Alabama Child Advocacy Center.

“These are organizations that mean a lot to us because the children that we dance with on a regular basis at our studio and in our outreach program are children that we have no idea of what their home lives are,” Hicks said. “And these organizations directly impact them in a positive way. These organizations just mean so much to our community.”

Prices for the event are $5 for admission plus $10 per class (you can also pay $20 for a package of different classes). Tickets for an afternoon reception with live music and heavy hors d’oeuvres followed by the benefit dance concert are $35.

Outdoor activities – which will include games, crafts, face painting, a bounce house, and a band – are all free and will be open from 1-4 p.m. There will also be food vendors, including Dothan Ice Cream and Cal & Al’s Tacos.

Indoor classes will be held from 1-3 p.m. in 30-minute increments inside the dance studio and will include self-defense, Zumba and yoga for adults and children ages 10 and up. Children ages 8 to 10 can take classes in dance, Zumba and yoga.

Combat Mindset Mixed Martial Arts and MH Yoga Health Studio will be leading some of the indoor classes, which will be held in different studios for children and adults. However, children in the self-defense classes must have an adult with them.

The afternoon reception will start at 5 p.m. and the dance concert in the studio’s black box theater will begin at 6 p.m. The concert will feature performances by Patti Rutland Jazz Dance Company as well as Spark Theatre Company and other guests, including a spoken word performance by Maegan Pinyan.

Hicks said there will also be information available from the Exchange Center, Child Advocacy Center and House of Ruth.

“Our goal is for this to be a yearly thing that can grow,” Hicks said.

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