When Noelle Partusch, faculty advisor for the Liturgical Dance Ensemble, heard Project Dance was holding an event in Jerusalem, her only thought was, “I’m going to figure out how to go.”
She, as well as three of her students, a junior and two freshmen, will be dancing at the three-day dance concert in Jerusalem this March. To finance the trip, a Kickstarter fundraiser began Wednesday, Feb. 18.
The goal is to raise at least $2,000 to offset the cost of the trip for the dancers. If they do not reach this fundraising goal, the money will be returned to the donors and the cost will default to the dancers.
Working in partnership with the Intelligence Studies Department and the Graphic Design Club, there are high hopes for success in the fundraiser.
Sadly, money was a deciding factor in determining which dancers in the ensemble could attend. The dancers are not receiving any credit for this trip. They are “purely going for their own benefit,” Partusch said.
It is hard to believe that in nearly a month the dancers will be in Jerusalem. The trio has choreographed and perfected a number entitled “Fear and Great Joy.”
“The girls are so excited,” said Partusch. “It will be an experience like no other.”
Partusch herself will also be dancing a solo titled, “Oh Praise Him.” While she has been dancing since she was seven years old, Partusch expects this opportunity to be “like nothing else.”
“The opportunity to dance in Jerusalem, experience another culture and faith while sharing our own through dance is simply amazing,” Partusch said.
Typically, a Project Dance concert would occur over three days, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. In Jerusalem, however, this will be different in order to honor the Sabbath on Saturday.
Friday will still be a day of check in with some small performances.
Saturday will not have any strenuous events though. There will be small tours and a traditional dinner in honor of the Sabbath. Sunday, the dancers will be performing in the all-day dance concert in the city of Jerusalem. Monday will hold classes from experts of various dance genres typical of other cultures. Project Dance looks to connect with individuals through dance.
It began in the Spring of 2002 to help heal New York City following the attack on Sept. 11, 2001. It has since expanded to any city that is willing to host it. Partusch looks to possibly host Project Dance in Erie in the future.
With the planning stages complete, all that is left to do is wait and raise funds.
“The plane tickets are sitting right here,” she said in expression of her excitement.
The Intelligence Studies Department has been working with the group to understand the conditions of Jerusalem.
They have put together reports of possible threats and things to look of for in general.
A former student of Partusch who currently resides in Israel comments, “you can go to Jerusalem or to New York City, but you want to be careful and aware of your surroundings in both cities.”