More than 150 area residents gathered at Strider Field on Tuesday to dance for a cause.
WCA Hospital and LINKS Charity teamed up to host a "Pink Glove Dance" to raise awareness of breast cancer, and to make a video to enter in a competition for the chance at $10,000 for the Western New York affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure.
According to Karl Sisson, WCA director of development, the program started a few years ago when Medline Industries Inc. got behind Providence St. Vincent Medical Center in Portland, Ore., to do something special for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Melissa Forster, a teacher at Persell Middle School, choreographer of the “Pink Glove Dance,” is shown rehearsing with area residents.
P-J photos by Dusten Rader
"They provided pink gloves for the employees of the hospital to do a pink glove dance," said Sisson. "They made a video of it and posted it to YouTube. It went viral to the point where it has had about 13 million views. Last year they invited other hospitals to participate, and this year they made it a national competition. They've invited communities from across the U.S. to put together their own pink glove dance videos."
The video, which was recorded on Tuesday, will be part of the competition that is featured on pinkglovedance.com. Voting begins on Oct. 12 and ends on Oct. 26; and the winner will be announced on Nov. 12. First place receives $10,000, second place gets $5,000 and third place gets $2,000.
"One of the reasons we're doing it is to have fun, but really we wanted to focus on the breast cancer survivors in our community by paying tribute to their courage," said Sisson. "Winning is not the only goal; it was to take the opportunity to raise awareness for the local fight against breast cancer during the month of October, which is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. We as a hospital want to get the message out about how important it is for ladies to get annual mammograms so that we can diagnose it in its earliest stage."
In addition to the dance filmed on Tuesday, the video focuses on six local breast cancer survivors who were captured on film before the event. One of the women featured in the film is Linda Johnson, public relations officer for WCA.
"I think they want to show that you can recover," said Johnson. "A lot of times when people are diagnosed with cancer their initial thought is death. So, when you do survive it and you start your life again, it's nice to have (the film) in the public eye so that they can see that there is life after cancer."
She also participated in the event even though she isn't a very good dancer, she said.
"It was a big bonding experience," said Johnson. "You certainly feel the collaboration and support for the cause, which is definitely important to me as a breast cancer survivor. I feel the love in the community, my neighbors and close friends whom I know are walking this journey with me. That's what these events do; they let you know that you're not alone in this, and that even after you recover they are still there for you."
The filming of the video brought together the Jamestown High School marching band, members of the community and the breast cancer survivors. Those who attended participated in six unique dances and one overall dance in which the breast cancer survivors formed a pink ribbon. The dances were choreographed by Melissa Forster, a teacher at Persell Middle School.
According to Forster, while choreographing the dances she had to keep in mind that she didn't know how many people would attend the event, how much of a dance background participants had or how much mobility they had.
"I wanted it to be creative, but simple enough that everyone could do it," said Forster. "The biggest thing that they wanted was for me to incorporate the pink gloves by getting as much hand movement as possible."
The groups participating in the competition were given the choice of one song out of six that they wanted to use for the dance, and they selected Katy Perry's "Part of Me."
"We thought about the message," said Sisson. "We wanted to have a storyline that focused on the fact that breast cancer can hit women of all ages and demographics. So, you will see diversity in the six women represented in the video. We also wanted to celebrate the courage of those women by selecting Katy Perry's song because it had the most powerful application to that courage message."
The grand finale for the filming of the "Pink Glove Dance" video was a kick-off event to get the community excited about the second annual LINKS Pink Walk scheduled for 10 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 6, at the Chautauqua Mall. The video will premiere at the walk. Walkers can register at firstgiving.com/wca/2012-links-pink-walk. More information can also be found by searching for "LINKS Pink Walk" on Facebook.
For more information visit pinkglovedance.com or search for "Pink Glove Dance" on Facebook.