Second Annual Raise the Arts Dance Showcase

Alex James, Staff Writer

On Thursday, May 18, the second annual Raise the Arts event took place. Three of Miami Palmetto Senior High’s students put the show together, bringing in a huge crowd. 

Raise the Arts, an organization started by MPSH Senior Devica Shah, works with Wells on Wheels to raise money to buy water wheels for women in India who suffer the difficulties of carrying water jugs. These water wheels serve as crucial tools, replacing the need to hold heavy jugs over their heads, hold more water, prevent musculoskeletal disorder and allow young girls who would usually help their mothers carry water to attend school. 

Shah’s initial goal was to raise $3,500 from the dance showcase, enough money to purchase 100 water wheels. The project had met its goal by the night of the event, not including tickets bought at the welcome booth and concessions. They have already raised more than what they did last year, and hope to continue expanding their project and raising more money throughout the years. 

The show featured dancers from MPSH’s Variations, Vice City Dance Co., Jill Mallory Studio of Dance, Ballet & Beyond, Focal Pointe, Dance Empire and Palmetto Middle Dance. The dancers ranged in ages from three to 18 and the dance styles varied from hip hop, to lyrical to ballet. Directors, Shah and Alexandria Browne, both performed in the showcase furthering their passion for dance and the arts.

Shah’s passion for this project stemmed from her background, since her family is from India. Aside from her immediate family,  all of her family members currently live there. She decided to combine her passion to spread awareness for this hardship with her other passion: dance. 

“I always knew I wanted to put on a dance show ever since I started dancing in sixth grade at Palmetto Middle, and then continued outside of schools and began competitions. I now continue my passion for dance on Palmetto’s Variation team,” Shah said. 

Raise the Arts also hosts a summer program, in which Artistic Director Sara Kramer, hopes to expand this art aspect to an all-year-round thing. The art project features paintings of dancers, and can even be customized. Kramer also explains her hopes to expand the paintings to other styles alongside dancing, such as environmental themes. 

“I love being in charge of Raise the Arts because it allows me to express my passion for the arts, also while giving back and making a difference in the world. I started going to an art studio in third grade and my passion spiraled from that point forward. From there, I began my journey in an art magnet in middle school,” Kramer said. “I’ve always been drawn to art because it allows you to let out your creativity in ways that others can enjoy.”  

Browne, who will also take over the organization alongside Kramer, wants to expand the board. 

“I am hoping to make a volunteer system next year and pair with Volunteering Miami,” Browne said.  

The directors plan on expanding from three people putting the entire production together to an entire team by reaching out to groups and organizations within the school and other schools.