Allie Laliberte wants to give something back to a passion that has meant so much to her.
So the Lafontaine native created Brass Ring Dance Inc., a Midland-based nonprofit designed to provide financial support for children and youth interested in dance.
“Obviously, there are families that need assistance with dance needs,” Laliberte tells MidlandToday. “We see the need for it.”
Launched last month, Laliberte says the nonprofit has been developed to assist in paying for dance tuition and equipment. As it stands now, she says studios will either provide a reduced rate or the young dancer won’t be able to join.
“A lot of it is falling back on the studios. We want to work to best fill the gaps.”
There are also plans to host donation-based dance workshops and seminars so children who may not be able to afford a year of dance still have opportunities to pursue it.
“We also work alongside studios, parents and caregivers for cultural and structural change and advocacy,” says Laliberte, who now lives and works in the other L.A. and has established a flourishing career as a professional dancer.
The nonprofit’s overall mission is to remove all barriers in dance by providing accessible, ethical and safer dance spaces for children and youth located in rural areas of Ontario.
Laliberte says the goal is to provide young dancers with richer relationships with movement, the histories behind many of today’s popular dance styles and nurturing relationships with their bodies.
“Our main goal is to help children and youth living in small towns. We want to do anything we can to help grow the dance world.”
They’ll be hosting jazz classes and hip-hop classes as well as a discussion with local dancer Emily Duckett about ‘disordered eating,’ dance and recovery.
Laliberte says it’s important that the organization helps address societal issues that can affect a dancer’s psychological and emotional well-being such as eating disorders and other pressures.
Laliberte, 27, began her dance career at the age of 13 at Midland’s Dancer’s Studio. She attended École secondaire Le Caron in Penetanguishene in Grades 9 and 10 before transferring to St. Theresa’s Catholic High School in Midland to finish high school.
Since embarking on her professional career, Laliberte has worked with the likes of Drake, Rihanna, Shawn Mendes, Doja Cat, JBalvin, Ricky Martin and Sofia Carson.
The organization gets its name from her father Paul Laliberte’s boat, which he called the Brass Ring.
“My Dad was my biggest inspiration, he kept me positive,” Laliberte says of her father, who passed away unexpectedly in 2012, and had two great loves, his daughters and his boat.
In fact, it was while they were watching So You Think You Can Dance together that Laliberte first became interested in dance.
“We didn’t have crazy amounts of money so it was a big commitment,” Laliberte says. “Financially, it was a huge amount of money.”
But with supportive parents (Paul and mother Ann Robillard), Laliberte trained hard and established herself as a talented dancer.
She adds: “It has its struggles, but I wouldn’t want to do anything else.”