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UWRF Dance Theatre works to rise above funding troubles

UWRF Dance Theatre poses at the end of their performance of Los Compañeros during the International Bazaar,Tuesday, March 29 in the Falcon’s Nest. (Tori Schneider/Student Voice)

December 14, 2016

The UW-River Falls Dance Theatre has started a GoFundMe page to raise money for its spring semester performance. Budgeting and funding for the arts on campus have dwindled in the past year, which has led to the fundraising efforts.

Salvatore D’Agostino, president of Dance Theatre, created the funding page on Nov. 15. As of Dec. 13, $115 out of the goal of $5,000 has been raised.

Dance Theatre is working to earn funds to pay for the technical aspects of its spring performance, including lighting and audio, rent for the theater, pamphlets, posters and so on.

Mercedes Leininger has been part of the Dance Theatre for three years. She said that she finds the theater rent to be an unnecessary cost.

“It is kind of frustrating that we have to pay for the theater because we already paid to go to this school, and why should we have to pay extra for that?” Leininger said.

Dance Theatre did receive some funding. However, in the words of Leininger, it was only enough to cover some expenses and not the rest of the payment.

Leininger said she thinks Dance Theatre does not get a lot of priority with funding.

“As I have witnessed it, we have 30 to 40 members so we are a large organization, but we get little priority,” said Leininger.

Dance Theatre members have already begun other means of fundraising for the spring performance. They have visited local businesses in town asking for donations. The donation is tax deductible, so donors do not have to pay the tax for the donation, according to Xiaoqi Wang, a member of the Dance Theatre.

“I went to one of the Chinese restaurants in Hudson and they generously donated $60. Normally businesses do not have a boss there, so we just leave our contact information there in case they want to contact us later after talking with the boss,” said Wang.

In addition to creating the funding page, members of the Dance Theatre send out 10 to 15 letters to family members and professors, asking for donations.

According to Wang, “Last year, we had more members and that helped with the budget because it meant more people to send the letters. Some of them got a lot of donations, but we have less members this year.”

Another source of budget for Dance Theatre used to be the URSCA grant, which stands for Undergraduate Research, Scholarly and Creative Activities. Annually, Dance Theatre attends the ACDA conference, the American College Dance Association conference, and the cost of transportation, the conference itself and accommodation is usually covered by the URSCA grant.

Three of the members, including Wang, are attending two conferences this year, the ACDA and TESOL conference. Since the URSCA grant is also limited, it can only cover the cost of the TESOL conference and the Dance Theatre is also trying to figure out how to cover the expense on ACDA conference for three students.

When asked about how the fundraising has been going for this year, Leininger said, “I think it was a little more positive this year. We just recently got a few big donations and that has been really helpful. Still, we definitely need more funding because we have had cuts this year and we have a big conference in the spring and we did not get all our money for that. We are doing a lot of fundraisers now.”

Leininger said that taking initiative when this type of situation happens is vital.

“If you are in a group that needs funding or needs a voice on campus, I think you have to fight for it and go talk to different department chairs. You have to speak up if you are in the same situation, if you are struggling for recognition or funding,” said Leininger. “Also, come see our show. That’s a good way to show support.”

The spring concert will be held from Feb. 15-18 at 7:30 p.m. More information is available on the GoFundMe page at www.gofundme.com/dance-theater2016.

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