Fashion charity gala raises money to help girls afford Lawrence dance classes

LAWRENCE – Music, rhythm, and movement can be found regularly inside Ritmo Canela Academy of Performing Arts in Lawrence.

From teenagers to the youngest dancers, this is what children look forward to the most after school.

“It makes me really happy to come here because I get to spend time with my dance family,” dancer Skye Beckett said.

In a gateway city like Lawrence, many families are Spanish-speakers on a fixed income, and paying for these classes comes with sacrifice.

“Five to six grand a year… and that’s just uniform alone, anything the girls need,” mother Laura Casado said.

The pricey costumes, cost of classes and transportation add up, especially for single mothers.

“I have some students that can’t participate because they have to pay rent at their house,” Maria Payano of Ritmo Canela Academy of Performing Arts said.

Mother Stephanie Munoz is using her love of fashion to raise money for the girls at the Lawrence dance school.

“It really created a sense of wanting to help,” Munoz said.

Munoz organized the Suited for Fashion Charity Gala, a networking event highlighting the performing arts.

“If I can alleviate some of the financial burden some of these parents have, that’s the goal,” Munoz said.

For those involved with the studio, it is evidence how much dance has helped the children through the isolating years of the COVID pandemic.

“This really helped them. I had some kids who wouldn’t even speak,” Maria Payano said.

The Suited For Fashion Charity Gala is set for Tuesday, November 15 at Lombardo’s in Randolph. Click here for more information.

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