Youth for Christ is helping kids enjoy dance while bringing the community together with their virtual dance marathon.

Chelsea Tielman is the Assistant Director at Masterworks Dance Studio which is a ministry of Youth for Christ (YFC) Winnipeg. 

"God drew me there. I first started working at Masterworks as a dance teacher," says Tielman who just stepped into her role as Assistant Director this August.

Tielman grew up dancing and it's been a passion of hers for almost her whole life, however, she didn't have a medium that combined dance with faith, until YFC.

"It was very refreshing to dance and teach dance and do it at a place that embraces Jesus and faith, and to teach kids for God's glory," she says.

Teaching African dance to beginners.Last years dance marathon, teaching an African dance. (Supplied)

Dance Marathon

On November 28, Tielman will be hosting a virtual Dance Marathon fundraiser with one-hour classes from 2:00 pm until 7:00 pm. To join, all people have to do is text DANCE to 30333 and an option to donate $10 or $20 will pop up. It's $10 for one class or $20 for all six classes.

"It's specifically geared towards all ages and levels," she says. "Dance can be a very vulnerable thing for some people so it's great to be able to do it in the comfort of your own home. This way people can do it even if they're scared."

The marathon is a celebration of dance in general. All funds raised will go towards helping kids who can't afford dance classes to take them. 

"Masterworks is a part of Youth for Christ. Our mission is to make quality training and exploration of dance, arts, and faith accessible to every youth regardless of their financial status or skill level," says Tielman.

YFC sponsors roughly 25 kids a year to be able to take a dance class in whatever style they want. It costs roughly $365 a year to send one kid to a dance class. YFC's goal for this fundraiser is $5,000.

"We have an interactive class for parents and their kids called Disney Magic. We're doing a pop/pilates class for those dying for a workout. We have an African class, hip-hop, lyrical/contemporary, and then we'll end with a high-energy salsa class."

As the marathon is happening online, Tielman says she's put out a call for people all over the country to join in the fun.

"In the midst of this pandemic, we are still continuing our regular classes online. We are finding every reason, opportunity, and avenue to connect with our youth. To not just teach dance but see how they're doing."

While the genres of dance Tielman teaches vary widely, her favourites are contemporary, ballet, and tap. 

"If you need something to lift your spirits, I've always thought tap is a great way to do that. If you want to give a message, contemporary is a great avenue to do that."