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Dance students to hold fundraiser for upcoming recital

Marissa Mason gets some of her young students warmed up during a dance lesson Feb. 13. Students are fitted for the costumes they will wear for the upcoming recital, pictured below and right, scheduled for May at the Williams Elementary-Middle School.

Marissa Mason gets some of her young students warmed up during a dance lesson Feb. 13. Students are fitted for the costumes they will wear for the upcoming recital, pictured below and right, scheduled for May at the Williams Elementary-Middle School.

Dancers with the Stepping Out Dance Company in Williams have been working on their dance routines since September, for a show scheduled to be held this May on the stage of the Williams Elementary-Middle School. Forty dancers are currently enrolled in the dance company. The young dancers plan to perform ballet, lyrical, tap, jazz and hip-hop numbers for the upcoming show. Students will also hold a fundraiser at Java Cycle Café on Saturday to raise money for costumes that they hope to wear during the recital.

According to dance instructor Marisa Masson, this will be the second recital for Stepping Out Dance Company, though the first recital was held in her studio. Due to an increase in students, Masson rented the WEMS auditorium.

"The kids are going to get to do it in the school auditorium this year. We rented that out. In the past we've done it in this little room, so the kids are really excited to do that. I've ordered some of the costumes already. All the dancers are going to have a costume for the recital. Because some of them are rather pricey, we decided to do a fundraiser. With the craft fair a lot of the dancers and a lot of their families too, siblings, parents, are helping out. All the money that they make is going to go toward their individual costumes. It's pretty much just for them, just so they can take a little bit of weight off their parents, so the recital can be really exciting and not be such a money-taker."

Masson said the event would be open to the public.

"I'm going to open it up at a really minimal price just to try and recover some of the cost to rent the auditorium. It would be really neat for the community to see how the kids have progressed. They're really learning a lot and it's a lot of fun too," she said.

Ages vary in her dance classes, Masson said, and can range from young to adult dance lessons, such as hip-hop classes.

"The youngest kids are four and then my oldest is 14. Then I have my adult class. I have adults that are in their 30s, late 30s, and occasionally I have someone drop in that's a little bit older. I have quite a few adults. It's a lot of fun. The class is full," Masson said.

Masson is currently in her second year of teaching dance in the Williams area. She instructs dance students in a 750 square foot studio, located behind the family's home near Elephant Rocks Golf Course. After attending dance school for 15 years, where she learned a variety of dance styles, she later attended Chapman University and took a year of tap and ballet. Though she eventually became a teacher, Masson said she continued to take dance classes and eventually began to help instruct younger dancers.

"I think it really helps a lot with discipline, physically and mentally. I think that, for a lot of kids, it gives them something to reach out to. I really believe there's a dancer within all of us. I don't think there's anybody who can't dance, even though people think that. It's great physically too; it's good for flexibility, for our joints and your well-being. It's a great way to express," Masson said. "Usually during my classes we start with warm-ups, stretches, we do things across the floor, work on a lot of dance techniques and then usually the last half an hour to 15 minutes of class, the entire year, we've been working on a dance routine or routines that are going to be in the recital. We've been refining them all along and adding on to them and that's what's going to be in the recital."

The fundraiser craft fair will be held Saturday at the Java Cycle Café in Williams from 2-6 p.m. Both the dancers and their families have contributed a number of handmade items for the show. Call Masson at (928) 853-9923 for additional information.

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