Mequon —The Trinity Irish Dance Company will put on a free show for residents of the Kyushu region of Japan, which was struck by twin earthquakes in 2015.
The earthquakes resulted in dozens of deaths and about 3,000 injuries with 10,000 displaced. The region is still in disarray.
Maggie Nowakowski of Mequon started dancing at 4 years old. She's 17 now and one of the 30 dancers going with the company to Japan. She said there were a couple dancers that were unable to go on the trip due to injury or family circumstances. People from all over the country are in the group.
The Trinity Irish Dance company was scheduled to perform at a theater in Fukushima on July 14, an area hit hard by the quakes. Due to the damage, the performance had to be canceled. Believing the show must go on, the company decided to put on a free performance the same day to 'alleviate grief through the power of dance,' according to a release.
'They (Trinity Irish Dancers) believe that the power of art and dreams is never more needed than in the wake of tragedy and are planning to spend a day engaging with the residents from the town of Fukushima, in addition to the free performance,' the release read.
The company needed to raise $15,000 to offset transportation, food, and lodging costs for the dancers. An online campaign was created to raise the money. Nowakowski said as far as she was aware the company hadn't quite reached their goal and they're 'still trying to spread the word' despite already having left for Japan on June 28.
As of June 27, she said they've raised about $12,000. Those interested in donating can visit www.trinityirishdancecompany.com/kumamoto.
'We are grateful to our campaign supporters who believe in the power of art to change lives. The people of Kumamoto and Fukushima love and support Irish culture and it is our dream to bring relief through our art form,' said Trinity Irish Dance Company Founder and Artistic Director Mark Howard.
Having visited Ireland and Scotland before, Nowakowski was no stranger to international travel. This trip is her first visit to Japan, however. She said she's looking forward to getting to know the people of Japan and 'connecting with them.' Regarding her fellow dancers, Nowakowski said she's 'beyond thrilled' to be working with 'so many powerful individuals.'
The group will be back on July 19.