From Roarin' 20s to Blue Christmas...

As you may know, I was selected as one of the Honorees for the 2015 Breath of Life Gala hosted by Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (CFF) of Central Pennsylvania. With only 10 weeks from my initial acceptance of the honor, to the date of the Gala, I was faced with quite a challenge—raise as much money and awareness as possible in support of the organization.

Kristen Murray & I with dancers from Hershey School of Dance. Photo: Hollis Healy

Kristen Murray & I with dancers from Hershey School of Dance. Photo: Hollis Healy

My first fundraiser was attended by many of you who follow my Facebook page. I hosted a Day of Dance for CFF at the Pennsylvania Regional Ballet. We had a great time taking (and in my case, teaching and taking) classes in ballet, modern, contemporary, hip hop, and Zumba. The attendees gave donations to CFF in lieu of class fees and the teachers: Kristen Murray, Stacey Tytler-Raab, Hannah Ruskan, Gregg Hurley all generously volunteered their time. It was truly a community event with participants from Hershey School of Dance, Pennsylvania Regional Ballet, Messiah College, and Studio ’91. I was so pleased to see so many of my former students and loved seeing the hard work and energy being poured out in the studio! Thank you for your support and thank you Pennsylvania Regional Ballet for allowing me to use your space! We raised over $600! You can find more photos from the event on my Facebook page.

The dancers in attendance also participated in #8Counts4CF. They performed 8 counts of improvised movement, which we filmed and uploaded to social media to raise awareness for CFF. I am grateful for those who kept the trend going!

Emily Drobnock (right); Thea Rodgers and her mother (left)

Emily Drobnock (right); Thea Rodgers and her mother (left)

A few days following that event, Knock Knock Boutique of Hershey gave me a second opportunity to raise funds in support of CFF. The owner of the Knock Knock Boutique, Emily Drobnock, one of my former students and later colleague at Hershey School of Dance, opened her shop for private shopping hours and donated a generous portion of the proceeds to CFF. I highly recommend her shop for chic, affordable jewelry/accessories and for hosting a party! She is organized, knowledgeable, and always ready with a smile!

The Hubs and I before the Gala

The Hubs and I before the Gala

The 10-week drive culminated with a Roarin’ 20s themed Gala at the West Shore Country Club. Dancers from the Pennsylvania Regional Ballet performed. There was a silent auction, casino games, and a live band with great music. Thea Rodgers, a young woman who battles the disease, gave a moving speech about living, no thriving, with CFF. This was followed by a live auction, a “Bid for Life” where donors gave to support the foundation. It was a beautiful evening made special by the opportunity to meet the parents of children with Cystic Fibrosis. In all, over $90,000 was raised during the event. Thank you to Victoria Silva, who nominated me, and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation for the opportunity to work with you. If you would still like an opportunity to give, my fundraising page will be open through the end of the year: https://cpabreathoflifegala15.eventscff.org/dguillermo

In addition to fundraising for CFF, I’ve been busy with classes and rehearsals at Messiah. Tonight, the dancers will perform in Blue Christmas, a service for those who have experienced loss of any kind and may not look forward to the holidays. A trio of dancers will perform a new ballet piece that I’ve choreographed In Grief and Loss set to music by Phillip Glass. A solo dancer will perform, Need You Now (2006), which I originally performed at L’Arte de la Danse Festival in Heidelberg, Germany, set to the music of Smokie Norful.  The program contains choreography by Gregg Hurley with music contributed by special guests including his wife, Susan Hurley and tenor Justin DeMartino. Come and experience, through dance, many journeys of the heart- from grief and sadness to comfort and strength.

Thank you for support in my endeavors. And just in case I don't have another opportunity to say it, have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday! Blessings and peace to you and your families and friends.

Danielle