Donors who streamed into the Clark Academy of Performing Arts this week with money to send Dinita Rufus and Chanon Judson to next week's World Jazz Congress in Frankfurt were given a special gift in return. They got to see Chanon, 17, Dinita, 16, and other members of their troupe perform the routine they hope will garner the second international dance trophy of the year for the Hertel Avenue academy.
Due to the community's generosity, Dinita will fly today from Toronto to Germany to warm up for the competition. Chanon will follow on Sunday.
About $3,000 was collected after The Buffalo News ran a story telling how the young performers might be left behind because their families could not afford to pay for the journey.
The fund will cover air travel and other expenses for both. Once the goal was reached, contributions were turned back.
Chanon, a recent graduate of the Buffalo Academy for the Visual and Performing Arts, said the dancers were more than happy to dance for their benefactors.
"People were coming in all week long," she said. "So we said, why not let them watch us perform? We ran through the choreography twice Wednesday, and about five times Thursday. A lot of people got to see what we're going to be doing next week."
She and Dinita, who will be a senior at Performing Arts, were stunned by the outpouring, Chanon said.
"We were counting on going, but we just didn't know how. And these people made it possible," she said. "We never thought so many would respond. We want to thank them from the bottom of our hearts."