To Puerto Rico with love: Dance studio raises hurricane relief funds

Brighton School of Ballet’s recent performances of “The Nutcracker” not only raised the spirits of all those who attended, they also helped raise much-needed funds to help the dance community of Puerto Rico recover from the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.

Through fundraising efforts leading up to the event, as well as donations collected at the Dec. 9 and 10 performances and a Go Fund Me page, Brighton School of Ballet was proud to donate $1,240 dollars to Mauro Youth Ballet Company of Puerto Rico.

Artistic director and owner Katrina Frelich says after the hurricane hit, it was very important to her to find a way to help because of the deep connection that has been forged between her school and the ballet community of Puerto Rico over the past decade. Since 2007, Brighton School of Ballet has welcomed professional dancers from the island to perform in its annual production of “The Nutcracker.”

“We consider them part of the Brighton School of Ballet family, and that means supporting each other in whatever way we can,” Frelich said. “We’re truly touched by all who donated to this effort, which speaks volumes about the generosity of this community.”

One of the Puerto Rican dancers who has frequently appeared as the Sugarplum Fairy, Marena Perez, is the director of Mauro Youth Ballet, and in the wake of the hurricane opened her studio to dancers of all levels- professional and amateur- free of charge.

“We are extremely grateful for dance organizations who have raised funds for us to continue to teach and perform,” Perez said.

Hurricane Maria hit the island on Sept. 20, 2017, initially wiping out electricity and cellular reception on the entire island and causing billions of dollars in structural damage. Nearly four months later, much of the island still has no power.

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