Getting in step to raise money for breast cancer awareness, Obama
BY ANDY FRYE and MATTHEW SCHWERHA For Sun-Times Media
TWO-STEP: Mz. Georgias (left) and Dawn Avery, aka Dawn the Dancin Deeva, (right) prepare for the Let's Do it Again fundraiser. | SUPPLIED PHOTO
Most political fundraisers are accompanied by eveningwear in somewhat formal atmospheres. Rarely do they involve dancing.
Let’s Do it Again, a fundraiser taking place on Oct. 27 at the Ray & Joan Kroc Center, at 1250 W. 119th St. in Chicago, is a re-election fundraiser of a different sort. While the attire for this event - which is black T-shirts with pink letters, black pants and black shoes - may be a little unusual, it’s all because of the fun involved and because it is coupled with a good cause.
The event features an evening of line dancing, and it is sponsored by Mz. Georgia’s Plaze, a Chicago dance studio run by longtime Chicago resident and legendary dance instructor Georgia Griffin. Proceeds from the event will be split between President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign and the American Cancer Society.
But this event isn’t something geared only to dance enthusiasts. Let’s Do It Again hopes to draw at least 1,000 people this year, men, women and children of all ages, both from Chicago and its suburbs. No experience is needed, and no dancing shoes are required.
“Anybody can participate,” said Dian Edwards, the dance outfit’s business manager.
Edwards also points out that Griffin specially choreographed a new line dance just for the event.
The origin and idea for the October event came directly from the Yes We Can-Can fundraiser — that happened this January in Chicago — which had 450 participants.
“We are trying to duplicate that and many, many more,” Edwards said.
Moreover, line dancing has become a growing trend over the last five years, said Dawn Avery, an active dance instructor who participated in the January event.
“Line dancing is huge right now. It’s blown up, especially over the last five years.” Avery, who also is known throughout the line dance community as “Dawn the Dancin’ Deeva,” teaches a number of different dance styles, but elaborates on the new trend.
“There’s country line dancing, square dancing and soul line dancing. Most of the moves we do are the same as country, but the music is different,” Avery said. “Since a lot of African Americans like R&B music, we dance to R&B and slip in a little soul.” And there’s more to it than that according to Avery.
“It’s great exercise and creates good camaraderie,” said Avery. “If there’s not a lot of men to dance with we can still get up and dance.” Avery also mentioned how line dancing promotes health. She noted that in the last two years she has lost 30 lbs. as a part of the fun.
Edwards also underscored that the Let’s Do It Again event is open to everyone and that the groove is easy to pick up. “You don’t have to be a line dancer. It’s a very easy dance. It’s only 32 steps,” Edwards said.
Griffin’s specially choreographed dance will be videotaped during the fundraiser and also made into a music video.
In the meantime, people interested in being in the dance video can learn the steps to the routine by watching the clip “Let’s Do It Again With Mz. Georgia,” on YouTube, or contact Mz. Georgia’s Plaze at (773) 632-6272 to order their shirt. Admission to the event is $8 with a T-shirt, $20 without a T-shirt.
“Take it from me I love line dancing and I dance every day,” said Avery, who also noted that guests of the event need no prior dance lessons or fancy feet. “With line dancing you just need yourself.”