Center Dance Teams Up With Arlington Free Clinic


(Saturday, April 28, 2007 5:57 AM EDT)

Free medical services and dance don't really seem to go together, but they will on Mother's Day weekend, when the Arlington Center Dance Company presents “Swing Into Spring,” a performance that will benefit the Arlington Free Clinic.

The staff at the Center Dance Company wanted to reach out to the community and introduce more families to the world of dance.

Previously, the company had tried to find sponsors to bring lower-income families to its performances, but did not have very much luck, so the company contacted Arlington Free Clinic about a possible collaboration.

“We wanted to find a way to identify these families and have them come to performances,” Center Dance Company artistic director Nancie Woods said in a recent interview. “It's a wonderful opportunity for us to stay involved in the community. Sometimes ballet companies have an elitist hat on their head, but we want to take that hat off.”

The staff at Arlington Free Clinic said they were glad to work with the company.

“It's an unusual partnership, but one that will work well,” said Arlington Free Clinic director of development Pat McDermott.

A number of Arlington Free Clinic board members already have purchased tickets for patients and their families.

The benefit performance will take place at Thomas Jefferson Community Theatre on Friday, May 11, and $5 from each ticket will go to support the clinic.

Arlington Free Clinic, located on North Fairfax Drive, provides free health-care services to about 1,450 low-income, uninsured residents of Arlington each year.

The more than 500 volunteers, including physicians, nurses and pharmacists, help patients deal with numerous chronic diseases, such as diabetes and cancer, and educate them on issues like breast health and nutrition, among many other services.

The money raised at the performance will go towards paying for specialty medicines.

“There are 750 seats in the theater, and we're hoping they sell out,” McDermott said. “But we'll be happy with anything we get.”

“Swing Into Spring” is a diverse triple-bill performance that includes “Paquita,” a classical ballet, Verdi's “Four Seasons,” a contemporary ballet and “Swing on the Side,” a swing and Big Band-inspired piece that has been an audience favorite in years past.

“We would like to do well for them and for us,” said Center Dance Company administrative director Jan Bull. “It's an exciting and different thing.”

For more information on the Center Dance Company or for tickets to the performance, call (703) 522-2414 or see the Web site at To learn more about the Arlington Free Clinic, see the Web site at

"Swing Into Spring" will benefit the Arlington Free Clinic.
(Photo courtesy Center Dance Company)

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