Ballet dancers are better known for starving themselves than feeding others, but Pamela Dionne wants to help Atlanta's Hurricane Katrina refugees eat well this holiday season. The former San Francisco Ballet ballerina and artistic director of CityDance Ensemble, Dionne is the organizer of Moving Forward, a dance festival to benefit Second Harvest food bank. The festival offers a rare opportunity to see several of Atlanta's modern, jazz and ballet companies together on one stage. Joining CityDance on the roster: the Atlanta Ballet, CORE Performance Company, Ballethnic, Beacon Dance, Ruth Mitchell Dance Theatre, Full Radius Dance, Moving in the Spirit, and Northeast Atlanta Ballet.
Why help in this way?
When [Hurricane Katrina] first happened, I called the Red Cross and I made my little donation, but I thought, "I want to do something more." And I can't write a check for $25,000 because I'm, you know, a ballet teacher. And I also felt like the Atlanta dance community is rich and wonderful, and yet it never comes together.
Why did you choose Second Harvest as the recipient?
In the midst of all this, I heard the most distressing thing on CNN. They listed the top cities of people living below the poverty line, and we were the fifth city. And then the statistic was 40 percent were living below the poverty line. And that was shocking to me ... . I do believe in food first, and when you're hungry, you can't do anything. There's a lot to do, but they've got to eat first. There are a lot of [Gulf Coast refugees in Atlanta] living with family, and they don't have the budget to feed them.
CityDance Ensemble presents Moving Forward Dec. 5, 7:30 p.m., at the Rialto Center for the Performing Arts, 80 Forsyth St. $25. (All proceeds benefit Second Harvest.) 404-651-4727. www.citydanceatlanta.com.