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Clearwater's Swing Dance for Charity Literally For the Birds

January Swing Dance for Charity

January Swing Dance for Charity

On Thursday January 10th at Clearwater’s Fort Harrison, Savoy South Dance Hall kicked off the New Year with the monthly Swing Dance for Charity. Dancers turned out to support the Seaside Seabird Sanctuary and dance to the Flag Band, who performed traditional swing numbers as well as swing-tastic takes on modern pop songs.

The Fort Harrison is the international religious retreat for the Church of Scientology Flag Service Organization, the sponsor of this monthly event.

After refreshments, career dancer Ms. Arleene Bowles of Savoy South Dance Hall taught new dancers East Coast Swing. East Coast Swing is also known as the “jitterbug” and is said to have evolved from Lindy Hop during the 1940s. Swing dancing has seen a revival since the early 1990’s and has continued to maintain popularity.

Guests were then introduced to the Seaside Seabird Sanctuary, represented by Keith Wilkins and rescued macaw Nemo. The Sanctuary is dedicated to wild bird rehabilitation and currently has more than 100 birds at its facility that are unable to be released back in to the wild. Nemo suffered from abuse by its former owner and was brought to the sanctuary, where she now acts as the facility’s official greeter.

"In the Way to Happiness, L. Ron Hubbard wrote ‘Care of the planet begins in one’s own front yard’ and the work that is being done by the Seabird Sanctuary shows that a determined group of people can be effective in taking care of a key part of Florida’s wildlife – birds,” said Lisa Mansell, the Public Affairs Director for the Church.

All of the funds donated at the dance that night were given to the Sanctuary to continue their rescue and rehabilitation efforts.

After learning about the Sanctuary, guests crowded the dance floor to swing to the Flag Band. The Flag Band also provided musical accompaniment for the traditional “Cake Walk” which gave guests another opportunity to donate to the Seaside Seabird Sanctuary. Three different handmade desserts were awarded to 3 lucky winners – Last Dancer Standing, Best Strut and Best Dressed.

The February Swing Dance will be held on the 21st and will benefit Criminon Florida. Criminon (which means “no crime”) is an international non-profit dedicated to addressing the causes of criminality and restoring the criminal’s self-respect through effective secular education programs.

A donation of $15 includes refreshments, a dance lesson and swing dancing to the Flag Band. The dance lesson starts at 7pm, with open dancing at 8pm to the Flag Band. Partners are not required and experienced dancers will be on hand to assist Ms. Bowles. For more information about the event, please call (727) 467-6860.

About the Fort Harrison

Since completing construction in 1926, the Fort Harrison has been the home to many events for charitable organizations. The latest owner, the Church of Scientology, completed a top to bottom restoration of the Fort Harrison in 2009, and since then has hosted over 320 community events there. Scientology is an applied religious philosophy, founded by L. Ron Hubbard. The Church makes its facilities available to non-profit groups as a service to the community.

Lisa Mansell
Public Affairs Office
503 Cleveland Street
Clearwater, FL 33755

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