Dancing for Anna

Published 9:30 pm Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Boys and girls moved non-stop as the sun went down over downtown Suffolk on Friday evening.

Each one of them twirled and stepped in rhythm to show a young girl — a fellow dancer — that they’re there to help her stomp on cancer.

Allonge’ Dance Academy on South Main Street gathered seven different teams for its “Dancing Under the Stars” fundraiser in honor of 10-year-old Anna Weissner, an academy student who was diagnosed with leukemia in the fall.

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Anna’s community and studio family came together on the outdoor dance floor to show her that they’re here to help her in her struggle — even after the sun goes down.

“We’re here, we love her, we support her, and it may feel like it at times, but she’s not going through this alone,” said Amanda Short, director and owner of Allonge’ Dance Academy. “That we’re all following her story and spending countless hours thinking of her and praying for her.

“We wanted a tangible representation of that for her here tonight.”

Several local businesses pulled together in teams of at least five or six, and while not all of them may have been dancers, they stepped up alongside dozens of students and other children that laughed and spun with unbridled enthusiasm.

“Each team has to be represented on the dance floor by at least one person all night long,” Short said, “so until 9 p.m. when those prizes are awarded, we need to see somebody from each team on the floor.”

Anna gave out awards to the winning teams. Team Ellis won the Team Spirit Award; the Pourfavor Coffee Squad from the Pourfavor Coffee Shop on North Main Street won the Best Moves Award; and the C-FIT Studs from the C-FIT Studio on North Main Street received Anna’s Choice Award.

The People’s Choice Award voted on by the other attendants was won by the Knights for Anna team, who received a party for 12 people that was donated by Mason’s Grill and Smokehouse.

Numerous other local sponsors came together to lend their support as well, including City Councilman Donald Goldberg, Music Makes You Happy Entertainment LLC, the Addison Group and R.W. Baker and Company.

On top of that list were pizzas donated by Amici’s Pizza Café on East Washington Street and proceeds from Lil’ Yeti Snoballs, and even more local supporters donated gift baskets for the raffle.

As of Tuesday evening, more than $2,000 had been raised for Anna and her family, as well as for the Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters cancer program, according to Short.

“We could not have done this for Anna without all of that, and we have been amazed by the support for her,” Short said on Friday.

The dance academy’s ensemble dancers also prepared a special performance for Anna. Their talented choreography left Anna’s parents, Stacy and Will Weissner, feeling humbled.

“You guys nailed the choices on the dances, because some of those were her favorite dances,” Stacy Weissner said.

The Weissner family expressed immense gratitude for the support they’ve received from friends, family and strangers alike. Stacy Weissner said they felt fortunate for the doctors and nurses at CHKD that have treated Anna’s cancer.

They’re grateful for fellow church members that prepared meals for them, for Anna’s school that did a T-shirt campaign for her, and for her friends at Allonge’ Dance Academy.

“Thank you for sharing your artistry and your time and just thank you again for supporting us, (and) for supporting the wonderful people at CHKD who are helping people who might not have as much support as we’ve had to get their kids better too.”

Online donations can be made either to Anna’s family directly at fundly.com/dancingforleukemia, or for the Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters cancer program at www.teamchkd.org/dancingforanna. Those links are also available at www.facebook.com/allongedance.

Donations for CHKD may also be submitted by check with the memo “Cancer Program Donation in Anna’s Honor” to Allonge’ Dance Academy, 152 S. Main St., Suffolk, VA 23434. Checks for the family may be sent to the same mailing address as well.

Email allongedirector@gmail.com or visit allongedanceacademy.com for more information.