Stepping Up 

"Who's with me?"

Liz DiMaggio, director of Memphis Raqs Bellydance, posted the question on her Facebook page. She wanted to revive "Dance from the Heart" to raise money for Haiti. The response was immediate: Members from the Pyramid Dance Company, Desert Rose Dance Company, and Dance with Jasmine all wanted to participate. Others who signed up include hoop performers Nadia Sophia and Ann Humphreys, Company d, Red Hot Lindy Hop, Fred Astaire Dance Studio, and the Children's Ballet Troupe.

The first "Dance from the Heart" was organized by a Memphis Raqs member after the 2004 tsunami. She posted about the event on a belly-dancing forum, and the idea was picked up by other troupes around the country, ultimately raising $12,000 nationwide. The event was held again after Hurricane Katrina.

DiMaggio says that "Dance from the Heart" adds a personal element to donating that texting lacks. "Dancing expresses so much emotion," she says. "[The audience] will get that feeling. It helps us remember that we're all in this together."

The evening will include Haitian-inspired numbers, and between dance numbers, someone will read about the history and culture of Haiti. Toward the end of the program, a presentation will be given about the earthquake devastation. But DiMaggio promises "Dance from the Heart" will go out on a high note. "There is hope," she says. "People will rebuild."

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