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Nonprofit dance team in Madison fights to stay open, asks community for help

Published: Mar. 3, 2021 at 10:06 PM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Troubled by the effects of COVID-19, the Dynamic Badgerettes is asking the community to help keep its doors open.

The majorette-style dance team based in Madison operates under the nonprofit The House Inc.

CEO and artistic director Clyde Mayberry also coaches the team. “We lost half of our capacity due to financial hardship, COVID guidelines,” he said, explaining how the last year has tested the dancers. “It just kind of dwindled down from there.”

Mayberry said he struggled to pay rent, missing several months last year. In February, he found an eviction notice at his studio on West Beltline Highway. “I snatched it down before the kids could see it, and we ran regular rehearsal that day,” he said.

While the program is tuition-based, Mayberry explained that many students fall below the poverty line, so he depends on community support.

“It’s just good for girls to come here because other teens aren’t doing positive things,” said junior captain Savannah Moncrief-Gaddis. “Having this center open is good for us to come and dance and stay out of trouble.”

“I dance to cope with the things I go through,” senior co-captain Jakyla Smith said. “When I’m sad I dance. When I’m happy I dance. When I’m frustrated I dance.”

To financially support the team himself, Mayberry runs an event consulting firm and has rented out the dance studio to others.

“They bring smiles to my face, and just to see them grow-- that’s why I love it and I can’t give up,” he said.

Community leaders have assisted with missed payments, according to Mayberry, allowing the dancers to stay in their current space until the lease is up. A property owner with Patrick Henry LLC confirmed that the Badgerettes are up to date with their payments.

Meanwhile, the dancers are looking for a new home to settle down. “It’s whatever we can get at this point,” Smith said. “If we were dancing outside I’d still be happy. If we do dancing in my front living room I’d be happy.”

The Badgerettes hope their online fundraiser will cover the remainder of their lease plus a full year of rent in their future space.

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