BYU ballroom dancers sweep WU off feet

Brandon Bills

The Brigham Young University Ballroom Dance Company brought their “Capture the Magic” program to the Topeka Performing Arts Center on Wednesday night. All proceeds from the performance went to the Topeka Rescue Mission and Doorstep.

People of all ages came to see the BYU Ballroom Dance Company perform a variety of dances. The dancers opened with a tribute to Fred Astaire. As the program progressed, they broke out more contemporary performances, such as routines inspired by “Pirates of the Caribbean” and “Hairspray.” Other dances included the West Coast Swing and the Viennese Waltz. The wildest of the performances was MicGalaxy, a spectacle featuring dancers in glow in the dark costumes under black lights.

The BYU Ballroom Dance Company has performed in Topeka before, most recently in 2002. That sold out performance raised $10,000 for those same organizations. Wednesday’s event was held at the Topeka Performing Arts Center for its larger attendance space in hopes of raising more money.

Nearly all of the expenses of the event were paid for by 20 sponsors, allowing for most of the proceeds to go directly back into the community.

“Practically every cent of the tickets goes to the organizations, which is really wonderful,” said Carol Christensen, event chair.

The Washburn Student Chapter of the J. Reuben Clark Law Society was among the sponsors.

The 90-minute program was attended by more than 1,200 people.

“I’m so appreciative that there were as many people there as there were,” Dawn Strecker, associate director of Doorstep.

Doorstep assists people in crisis situations. Assistance includes money, food, clothing and transportation. It relies on donations from the community to continue its services.

“Anything we can do to help raise money,” said Strecker. “Anything that will help feed even one more family is worth it.”

“Not only are people able to enjoy their evening together but also they’re doing it for a good cause,” said Barry Feaker, executive director of the Rescue Mission. “It’s kind of a win-win.”

The Topeka Rescue Mission relies on donations from the community to provide food, shelter, clothing, training to needy men, women and children. The economy has made this more challenging as demand increases and donation down.

“This is a stretching time for everybody, including the charities,” said Feaker. “The Rescue Mission is right in there with everybody else.”