Home News and Features Community and Business News in Brief, May 3, 2023

Community and Business News in Brief, May 3, 2023

Runners leave the starting line at the 2022 Race Against Racism. Courtesy photo.

Race Against Racism Moves to the Statehouse

The Race Against Racism is back and hosting its 5th rally and race at the Vermont Statehouse on Sunday, May 7. The Race and Rally Against Racism is a statewide annual anti-racism event, organized by youths from several Vermont high schools. All are welcome to a public rally, curated with a spectacular list of notable speakers; live music; and performances. 

All proceeds from the event are donated to organizations that work toward supporting the BIPOC community and instituting real change within our state. This year, we are donating to two amazing organizations, Building Fearless Futures and the Vermont Releaf Collective.

In 2017, Hope Petraro, a Montpelier High School freshman, proposed that MHS organize and host a Race Against Racism to raise awareness about racism. Petraro and a couple of MHS students, along with Heather McLane (a MHS social studies teacher) and local activists, spent countless hours over the summer organizing the event, promoting it across the state and raising funds to cover costs. 

In the past, the event has taken place at Montpelier High School. This year, however, the event is going bigger, and will be held at the Statehouse. The goal of the Race Against Racism is to strengthen and amplify the crucial conversation surrounding racial justice in Vermont and to strengthen the idea that change is now. It strives to provide an opportunity for the community to come together to listen to the voices of people of color in the state in order to learn, grow, and support one another. Organizers hope that having it at the Statehouse will bring even more community involvement and institute real change in Vermont. 

Registration begins at 1 p.m. at the Statehouse, followed by a rally with music, speakers, and pizza. The race begins at 3:30 p.m.

—press release

Contemporary Dance and Fitness Studio’s 50th Anniversary

With “Dancing Through the Generations” as the theme for Contemporary Dance and Fitness Studio’s 50th anniversary year, the studio kicks off the celebration with performances May 19-21 at the Barre Opera House.

It would tax the mind to calculate how many central Vermont lives have been touched by Contemporary Dance and Fitness Studio since Lorraine Neal opened its doors in 1973 on the third floor of what was then Lash Furniture in Barre. Right next door, at the Barre Opera House, today’s dancers will give the usual delightful and impressive performances on May 19, 20, and 21 (for tickets call 802-229-4676). The year will culminate with a gala in May 2024.

Current Director Allison Mann has seen numerous grandchildren of former students coming through the door. “It’s such a treat to have parents — and now grandparents — bringing the young ones up the stairs to enroll and to hear their stories of taking classes with Lorraine, Kathe McBride, and others,” she said.

Lorraine Neal, founder and director emeritus of Contemporary Dance and Fitness Studio, with current director Allison Mann. Courtesy photo.
Those long flights of stairs at 18 Langdon Street in Montpelier have been home to the studio since 1980. After teaching in Barre, and various churches in Montpelier, Neal began renting from Warren Kitzmiller, above Onion River Sports. (Coincidentally, in 1973, when Neal opened her doors, so did Buch Spieler, Bear Pond Books, and, one year later, Onion River Sports — all still thriving today.)

Isadora Snapp, incoming director. Courtesy photo.
Over the years, the studio has grown from one to over a dozen teachers, many of whom had or now have their own children taking classes, and many of them studied with Neal as children and teens. One of these individuals is Isadora Snapp, who will be taking over as director from Mann.

The studio’s 50th Anniversary Year of Celebration will feature monthly events in central Vermont, beginning with a choreography workshop offered by Isadora Snapp in June. It is a stand-alone workshop but will also serve as the first in a series to culminate in a performance piece for the gala in 2024. For information about this workshop, to purchase tickets for the May 19, 20, or 21 performances, or to find out about summer and fall 2023 offerings, call 802-229-4676 or go to cdandfs.com.

—press release