Drama “Dance-a-Thon” accomplished more than fundraising

Mallory Wakida

 

On Saturday, Oct. 24, EPiC students gathered to take part in Dance-a-Thon, an eight-hour long fundraiser.

According to Drama teacher Erik Berkowitz, $23,000 has been raised, with an estimated $2,000 pledged to come. This grand total will exceed the EPiC Theatre Company’s goal of $20,000.

Berkowitz stated that the hefty goal is necessary to allow for a fully functioning drama program.

“It pays for materials that aren’t covered by the money we get from the district, like the stage in 306,” Berkowitz said.

The money will also be put toward other uses, such as paying for costumes, guest artists, and props for the upcoming year.

Berkowitz believes that the money raised through the Dance-a-Thon will allow for more production freedom and will improve the quality of the program, mainly through the hiring of professional guest artists.

“Twenty-thousand dollars makes it so we can do the projects that we have planned out. If we start making less, we have to start making choices about what not to do,” Berkowitz said. 

This year's Dance-a-Thon art displayed on the walls in the Little Theater.
This year’s Dance-a-Thon art displayed on the walls in the Little Theater.

In order to attend the Dance-a-Thon, EPiC students are asked to raise a certain amount of money. Each Beginning Drama student is expected to raise $75, each Intermediate Drama student contributes $100, and each Advanced Drama student must provide $200.  

Berkowitz requests that Intermediate and Advanced Drama students raise more money than Beginning Drama students because they use more resources. If students are short of the requested amount of money, they will still be allowed to participate in the event. However, they will be expected to contribute the rest of their pledged proceeds later on. Raising money is not mandatory or tied to their grade.

“Beginning drama is just getting involved in the program, so it seems a little unreasonable to ask them to bring a lot more money, like the older students,” Berkowitz said.

The money that the students raised supplements the $90,000 the drama department receives from the Redwood foundation, which is primarily used to hire guest artists.

Former Tamalpais drama teacher Michelle Swanson introduced Dance-a-Thon to Redwood in 1987. The success of the initial fundraiser, as well as its growing popularity among the student body, soon cemented its place in Redwood culture.

According to Berkowitz, the Dance-a-Thon represents more than a typical fundraiser.

“I think the most important thing for us is building a community for all of our students. And I think that is always hugely successful at the Dance-A-Thon, regardless of whether we’ve met our fundraising goals,” Berkowitz said.

According to Berkowitz, Dance-a-Thon bonds drama students of all grade levels.

“The thing that’s pretty amazing about it is that [people of] all grade levels are dancing with each other and having a good time and interacting with each other,” Berkowitz said. “It really brings the community together, and people feel part of something.”

Mia Glenn-Schuster, an Advanced Drama student and film focus intern, believes that Dance-a-Thon provides the perfect opportunity for Advanced and Beginning Drama students to connect and become closer with each other in a fun environment.

“It’s really up to the advanced drama students to set the vibe of the whole event, to get the freshmen involved in dancing, and having fun with the rest of us,” Glenn-Schuster said.