By Lethbridge Herald on November 27, 2020.
When Lise-Anne Talhami formed the Ammena Dance Company in 2004, her dream was to bring the community together through dance.
Now the dancers she has nurtured are coming together in an effort to help Ammena keep its footing in a pandemic-rocked economy that has already claimed more than its share of business casualties.
“Don’t let this be our Last Dance with Ammena” is a fundraiser taking place via the online platform GoFundMe, with a goal of raising $15,000 to help Talhami keep her dance studio operating amid the COVID challenges. More than $9,000 had been raised as of Tuesday.
Taunya Pickles, one of the organizers of the fundraiser, says she wants to see Ammena continue to operate because she has benefited so much from her participation with the studio since she attended her first dance class in 2015.
“It’s changed my life,” says Pickles. “It’s changed who I am. It’s given me confidence and a positive body image. It’s restored my faith.”
Pickles has detailed her story of Ammena’s positive impact on her life on the GoFundMe page.
“I’m just one of many stories,” she notes, adding, “I think my story is the littlest of all.”
She goes on to point out that some of Ammena’s members have overcome major injuries with the help of Talhami’s dance program.
Now it’s Talhami’s business that has been injured, crippled by pandemic restrictions that have forced her to split her dance classes, with some participants having to take part virtually from home. The pandemic has caused some to drop out, and Talhami has been further hurt by the added expense of implementing other measures to keep her dancers safe from the virus.
Pickles and the studio’s other loyal supporters don’t want to lose the Ammena group that she refers to as a “dance family.”
The dancers are preparing for Ammena’s 14th annual “An Explosion of World Dance and Music” dance show, which will be performed without a live audience because of the pandemic. It will, however, be streamed online.
The fundraiser’s proceeds will go to assist Talhami with the costs of running the studio over the winter months (lease and utilities) and help cover costs (rental of the theatre, live feed streaming) to run the annual dance show in March.
People can contribute to the fundraiser via GoFundMe at https://www.gofundme.com/f/gofundmecomfdont-let-this-be-our-last-dance.
Find out more about Ammena Dance Company online at http://www.ammenadanceco.com.