If you've ever been a patron or performer of dance in Central Florida any time in the last forty years, your life has been touched by Kip Watson. Beginning in the late 1960's, Watson has been an integral member of the Orlando artistic community, founding both the School for Performing Arts and later the Southern Ballet Theater, which eventually became the Orlando Ballet.
Since 1985, Kip and his wife Eliza have run the Harwood-Watson Dance Studios, which has helped train many of Orlando's finest dancers, along with providing a rehearsal and performance space for numerous small art and theater groups (including my own Empty Spaces Theatre Co., which presented an original movement theater piece entitled “Phobias” in 2007). And until recently, Kip himself remained a vital dancer; an aging-themed duet with his wife choreographed by Casey Saxon a few years ago repeated brought me to tears.
Now, after so many decades of supporting the local arts community, Watson needs help himself. He's been diagnosed with stage 4 cancer, and is undergoing aggressive chemotherapy. Despite insurance coverage, expenses for treatment are astronomical. To help defray the costs, the Orlando chapter of PURE (Public Urban Ritual Experiment, an “international community of artists who bring change, beauty and awareness, to the world through the power of dance and music”) is hosting a Works of PURE Love benefit show this Saturday dedicated to Kip. Don't miss this great opportunity to contribute to “raising the spirits” of someone who has done so much for Orlando's artistic life over the years.
Saturday, April 2, 2011
Harwood-Watson Dance Studios
820 Lake Baldwin Lane
$10 donation requested at the door
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