A scholarship fundraiser event bringing the fun back safely

BANDON — MarLo Dance Studio is committed to bringing “positivity” back to local families in 2020. In addition to reopening the studio for fall dance classes, MarLo is hosting a movie for the community with Bandon’s new movie screen at the Sprague Theater.

The feature will be the 2016 animation, "Leap!" followed by a short live performance by MarLo’s own upper-level ballet class. Performers will be Elli Schulz, Halle Minkler, Rachelle Maxon, Gracie Slater and Hadassah Slater. Choreography is by Faith Slater.

The event will be held at 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 17 and Oct. 18, at the Sprague Community Theater, 1202 11th St. SW. Tickets cost $3 in advance or $5 at the door. Online reserved seating tickets are available beginning Oct. 3 at www.marlodance.com

"Leap!" tells the tale of an orphan girl who dreams about becoming a ballerina in Paris. The combination of the feature and live performance is sure to delight audience of all ages.

Under the direction of Maria Merriam, MarLo Dance Studio is celebrating its 22nd season of serving the greater Bandon area. Students travel from as far as Powers, Brookings and Coos Bay to be part of Bandon’s unique program that focuses on a solid ballet foundation with jazz, tap, lyrical, hip hop and ballroom genres.

The heart of the long-standing program has been its sold-out theatrical dance performances which has also fueled the school's scholarship program. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, MarLo Dance Studio has had to cancel both last spring's production of "Cinderella" and the holiday favorite, "The Nutcracker," which had been scheduled for this coming December. 

Merriam said MarLo currently has 87 students, down from 135 last spring before the COVID-19 pandemic, not counting the ballroom dance program that hasn't restarted or the adult fitness classes that are limping. Class sizes are reduced, though there are openings for preschool and new youth beginners in ballet and adult pilates. Some elective courses were cut to allow time to add duplicate younger age classes to compensate for social distancing.   

"We’ve intentionally reopened with a soft start," Merriam said. "We are filling classes with returning students first. We are ready to accept more students now with the possibility of adding a few more classes.

"Shows are the lifeblood of the performing arts' financial health. It was our sole fundraiser and we’ve lost two. It’s been a heartbreak to both the students, their families and the staff. Yet, still, I am optimistic. Nothing makes me happier than be back in class with the students. Sponsoring 'Leap!' with a small live performance is going to be great fun for the area children and a baby step to bringing the performing arts back."

The concept to host a movie came from Radio City Music Hall in NYC, who historically paired movies with the live performances of the Rockettes.

Sponsors of 'Leap!' with MarLo Dance Studio include Easlon Construction and Bandon Dunes Golf Resort.

The nominal ticket price will cover the royalties of the presentation, Merriam said. The opportunity to give to the MarLo Dance Studio scholarship fund will be available through the online ticketing and at the theater. Additionally, an opportunity to pre-purchase 2021 MarLo Dance Studio calendars featuring the work of local photographers Eric Wyatt Photography and Annetta Adams will also be available through the online ticketing cart and at the theater.

Theater seating has been reduced to under 50% capacity to ensure social distancing. Parties of 10 or less can sit together. All seats will be assigned by the host. For online reserve seating visit www.marlodance.com. For general questions or patrons interested in supporting local performing arts and youth programs, call Merriam at 541-252-1394.

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