BRUSHY PRAIRIE — A grant from the LaGrange County REMC will soon help dancers and theater troupe members from Prairie Heights reflect on their moves.
The programs, thanks to the dedicated coach and choreographer Samantha Stanford, will soon be the new owners of mirrors on wheels to use during rehearsals.
When Stanford heard about Operation Round Up grants on the radio, she thought it would be a great way for the school to get mirrors on wheels to use in practice spaces, which often include the cafeteria or gymnasium as well as the auditorium stage.
“I knew Prairie Heights didn’t have mirrors, which are crucial to dancers to watch and critique themselves and for instructors to see if dancers are catching on or if we need to slow down,” she said. “I decided to apply for some mirrors on wheels since we practice in the gym and cafeteria.”
Kelly Lynch, communications specialist for LaGrange County REMC, said in a statement on Operation Round Up that it is made possible by participating members, totaling nearly 70% of consumers, who choose to round up their bill to the nearest dollar each month.
“These pennies are then put into the program’s fund, which awards grants on a quarterly basis,” the statement says.
Stanford said the grant is cool because it’s all local residents supplying the funds that go back to the community they live in.
“One hundred or so students will benefit from the people that rounded up their bill to the nearest dollar,” she said. “The grant will help about a quarter of the Prairie Heights High School population.”
Stanford started the grant application in March, getting it submitted in April. She found out earlier this month that it was approved.
Theater director Corrine Reed signed off on the grant. Stanford and fellow dance coach Amber King choreograph the school musicals she directs.
“Most of the students in musicals aren’t trained dancers and don’t have great body awareness,” said Reed. “These mirrors are a great tool to help them develop that.”
Before the mirrors, students in both the dance and theater programs had no way to see themselves while learning their choreography.
“They will be a complete game-changer for these dance girls,” Stanford said.
Coming from Fort Wayne, Stanford said it was hard coming to a school and team that didn’t have mirrors. Previous schools she’s worked with had access to them.
“These girls have learned without them so it’ll be interesting to see how it goes now that they’ll have some,” she said.
Reed said they will also help with self-correction, facials and body expression.
“They will actually be able to see if they look the way they think they do,” she said. “So very valuable.”
Stanford got quotes for pricing on the mirrors and plans to order in the next few weeks, with the goal of having them delivered in time for summer dance practices.
“I hope seeing this encourages people to round up their bill to the next dollar,” she said. “That money is staying in the community.”
Steuben County and Noble County REMC’s also offer Operation Round Up grants.
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