Walla Walla’s Best Dance Crew Raises Money for Worthy Cause

Hannah Bartman

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Photo by Marra Clay

The third annual Walla Walla’s Best Dance Crew will be held this upcoming Saturday, March 8 at 7 p.m. in Cordiner Hall. The event is organized by Whitman’s Kappa Alpha Theta chapter to raise money for Theta’s national philanthropic organization, Court Appointed Special Advocates. In 2008 CASA’s federal funding was reduced, so Thetas across the nation are working to raise money for this organization they have supported since 1989.

“[CASA is] an extremely worthwhile cause. Starting in 2008, its federal funding got cut significantly, so Theta as a national organization has become one of its chief supporters,” said junior Caitlyn Yoshina, co-chair of the fundraising committee for the event.

CASA pairs a representative specially trained in child abuse cases with a youth working through the court system. This representative both represents the child’s needs in the trial and becomes a supportive mentor to the child.

“I think that [CASA] can really affect the outcome of these cases to make sure that these children really are being placed in the best place that they can be,” said senior Hanna Mosenthal, an event coordinator.

Walla Walla’s Best Dance Crew is Theta’s largest fundraiser for CASA each year. At the event, six groups have volunteered their time and dance skills for the enjoyment of the Whitman and Walla Walla public. The dancers performing this year include River Rince/Tap That, Sophie Ralph and Lisa Dobson, the Whitman Dance Team, Gumboot, Afrolatin/Hiphop and The Performing Company.

After each performance, the group is given a score by the judges. At the end of the event, there is a judge’s choice award and a people’s choice award, but the overall winner of Walla Walla’s Best Dance Crew is a combination of the group that raised the most money for the event and the judge’s choice award.

“Most of us like to dance, so we thought it would be a good thing to do it and it goes toward a really good cause,” said organizer of the Afrolatin/Hiphop dance, senior Ornella Leukou Nzoutchoum. “I thought it would be a good way to finish my Whitman College career.”

Leukou Nzoutchoum has danced in other performances throughout her years here at Whitman, but she has never created a dance that mixes African dance, Latin dance and hip-hop.

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Photo by Marra Clay

“One thing I enjoy about dancing and music is that it’s so unique, but at the same time so similar that you can do so many different things with them,” she said. “The main thing for us is to have fun.”

Last year, The Performing Company, a Walla-Walla-based high school ballet group, won the trophy for Walla Walla’s Best Dance Crew. Another local dance group, Sophie Ralph and Lisa Dobson, are a duo of high school students who have not performed in previous years.

Fundraising for the event involves contacting alumnae and Theta families in addition to each team’s fundraising efforts. According to Mosenthal, the bulk of the money raised comes from ticket sales. The committee has already raised approximately $1,300 and anticipates an even greater amount after the event.

“It’s going to be a fun and energetic evening. People are going to see their friends doing what they love,” said Yoshina.

Tickets, along with free raffle tickets, are available for $5 at the Whitman bookstore and at Book and Game on E. Main Street. Tickets will also be sold at the door for $7.