Belly dancers, folk and fusion performers, singers and dancers brought their passion for their arts to the stage at the Parkway Chateau Sunday afternoon.
But they especially gave their heart in support of an organization that has helped 14-year-old Allen Gaines of Zion, Ill., with surgeries he has needed to correct the deformities caused by Crouzon Syndrome, which he was diagnosed with when he was just 7 months old.
Allen and his mother Mayumi, who was among the 16 performing acts at the second “Dance with Passion” event, have been giving back to Shriners Hospital for Children, where Allen has undergone numerous surgeries, for a number of years.
Mayumi said Allen has been under the care of Shriners since the age of 4.
“He’s doing great,” she said. Allen is expected to under go additional surgery next summer.
Belly dancing has been something of a journey for Mayumi, who took lessons eight years ago. Since then, she has blended her Japanese heritage into the art form.
Her dance was performed to a song that means “festival” in Japanese, representing a celebration of nature, earth and spirituality.
Other performances focused on traditional belly dancing themes with a Middle Eastern flare, Bollywood fusion and even opera.
The idea for the fundraiser was inspired by Allen, Mayumi said. When he was 10, Allen began saving his allowance and wanted to donate it to Shriners.
“They’ve helped me a lot,” Allen said of Shriners. “At the time I started getting my allowance ... I thought I would donate some of that money here to Shriners. But my mom, said she had a better idea, and so she helped me organize this.”
With the help of his mother, the idea grew to become a series of performances starting in 2014. They hope it can continue to be a regular occurrence. The last event raised about $800.
Mayumi said the support of all the dancers, singers, drummers and artists over the years has been well-received.
“You know, it’s just amazing. People have such great hearts,” she said.