For some, dancing is many things — a hobby, an exercise, a passion — or simply a way to express yourself.
For Sonia Balazovjech, it’s all of that and a little more.
Balazovjech is a full-time teacher with a deep love for dancing.
In 2010, she wanted to take that love to another level so she gathered a group of women together and created the Sonia Balazovjech Dance Company (SBDC).
“We volunteer, we come into the studio and we put together full-length productions and proceeds from the ticket sales go to a chosen charity,” she said.
Every year or so, the company selects a local organization.
They work closely with them to find out what the organization’s mission is and then, through dance, they communicate that in a 90-minute show. All of the ticket proceeds go to the organization.
Balazovjech calls it dancing for a cause.
“We were all privileged and lucky enough to grow up in a really great West Island community, and people were always there for us,” said dancer Dawn Patulli.
“So it felt like the right thing to do to basically just do something you love and give back at the same time.”
The group of women practice three times a week.
They rehearse at places like Dorval’s Imperium Dance Studio — where the studio time is donated to them.
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“We come in, we’re able to work and create our pieces at no cost and so then we can go out and whatever money we raise, we can just donate,” said Balazovjech.
In March, SBDC will hold a show called Ovation in honour of Overture with the Arts (OWTA), a non-profit organization that offers performing arts education at a free or low-cost.
The women say dancing for organizations like theirs gives them purpose.
“Once you start working with the organizations more and more, you really get to have the feeling of what those organizations do for their community as well,” said dancer Nicole Legault.
“So it’s really all about capturing all of that and then putting it into your dance and expressing that for the audience.”