Watts Dance Studio donates dance costumes to international children in need

Many organizations host donations and charity drives during the holiday season. One dance studio, however, did more than that, bringing many different organizations under one project in the name of spreading the value of the arts to children who need the message the most.

On Friday, Dec. 14, Watts Dance Studio donated eight large boxes of dance costumes to the international organization Traveling Tutus.

Co-owner of the studio Chrisann Watts-Tull said the project is the result of a combination of efforts from multiple parts of the community.

“Students from Elizabethton High School’s National Honor Society came by and said they wanted to do a service project,” Watts-Tull said.

Together, they found Traveling Tutus, an organization that sends dance costumes to underprivileged children who take dance classes.

“Some groups send costumes to studios or other organizations,” she said. “This one we found sends the costumes directly to underprivileged children.”

Plans for the donation began in May. It took months to gather all the costumes they needed, and it took two full days to organize all the costumes for shipping. Even then, the shipping costs were going to be high.

“Tommy and Mary Tipton of Chick-fil-A said they would pay for the shipping costs,” Watts-Tull said.

Watts-Tull said this cooperation of multiple organizations and businesses shows how much the community cares about one another.

“People say younger people do not care,” she said. “They call this the selfie generation, but the second I talked about the idea, they were all on board. They wanted to do their part.”

Watts-Tull said their contribution to Traveling Tutus highlights the studio’s core philosophy.

“It is not just about steps, but about filling hearts,” she said.

Watts-Tull said the studio will support virtually any organization who asks for their assistance, whether it be a school program or a non-profit organization.

“We will even dance for the opening of a new McDonald’s,” she said, laughing.

She said they do not just teach students about dancing while they are inside the building.

“We teach them to be civil-minded,” she said. “We teach them to care about one another.”

Those interested in reaching out to the dance studio can do so by calling 423-543-3361 or by stopping by in person at 601 Race St.

“Our history proves we love dancing and sharing dancing with others,” Watts-Tull said. “It is not just about steps, but about how you interact with other people.”

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