Paws for a Cause is a series where we chat with our friends, clients, and peers in our local Colorado community. It’s a chance to check in and see how everyone’s doing in business and life.
Today we’re talking to Dawn Fay, President of Wonderbound. YellowDog has partnered with Wonderbound to produce their print assets, such as the booklet programs at every show. We just love attending Wonderbound performances and supporting them with our nonprofit discount.
YellowDog: Hello Dawn! Give us the short version of your nonprofit’s mission. What population or cause do you serve?
Dawn Fay: Wonderbound, a contemporary ballet company, uses dance to deepen humankind’s common bond through uncommon endeavors of discovery and creation. Annually, Wonderbound creates innovative, original productions that serve a broad and diverse audience. Wonderbound also provides programming for underserved populations through its Community Education Programs and Pari Passu program, serving disadvantaged elementary students and individuals experiencing homelessness, respectively.
YD: How and when did your nonprofit start?
DF: Wonderbound was formed in 2013 and was born out of a need to create ground-breaking original productions for its community.
YD: What was your journey into your role as the head/president? How did you get here?
DF: Having begun dance at the ripe age of three, I went on to dance professionally with Miami City Ballet, Royal Ballet of Flanders, Ballet Memphis, and Trey McIntyre Project. My dance career spanned twenty-two years. Every day, I feel beyond fortunate to be able to continue my work in the dance field as President of Wonderbound.
YD: COVID-19 has been a part of our lives throughout 2021. What have you learned about your organization, and/or how have you adapted in 2021?
DF: During the Stay-At-Home order in 2020, Wonderbound immediately pivoted to creating virtual offerings, including dance tutorials, self-choreographed solos, and dance for film. In total, we produced 126 new videos.
COVID-19 restrictions prohibited Wonderbound from providing its in-school community education programs again in 2021. The organization decided to build upon its video work achieved in 2020 and expand its collection of offerings. In May 2021, Wonderbound created forty-one new dance tutorial videos, which were distributed to schools in Adams, Denver, and Jefferson Counties. In total, 167 videos are available on Wonderbound’s website—all completely free of charge for anyone to view.
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During COVID-19, Wonderbound was one of only five dance companies in the country producing live shows for in-person audiences. For the 2020-21 season, the organization presented the following productions for reduced-size audiences at its studio location:
- October 16 – 22, 2020 Wicked Bayou
- January 21 – February 7, 2021 Winterland: A Discotheque Cabaret
- February 25 – March 13, 2021 The Troublemakers
- April 22 – May 9, 2021 The Garden
For the 2021-22 season, Wonderbound has and will present the following productions at its studio location. Due to concerns around the delta variant and COVID-19 outbreaks, the organization is remaining at reduced-size audiences:
- October 14 – 31, 2021 Penny’s Dreadful
- December 2 – 19, 2021 Winterland: A Discotheque Cabaret
- February 2 – 20, 2022 Romance, Revenge, Redemption
- April 20 – May 8, 2022 Oh Me, Oh My!
Throughout COVID-19, Wonderbound has remained fully operational. The organization has kept its dancers and staff on payroll and has not implemented layoffs, furloughs, or salary cuts.
YD: What are the top three items on a “wishlist” for your organization?
DF: As Wonderbound keeps its audiences at reduced capacity, the organization has a significant gap in ticket sale revenue. Contributions from individuals, corporations, and foundations are greatly needed at this juncture.
YD: Describe your organization in three words.
DF: Anything But Typical!
YD: Love it! Thanks for sharing your story!
Now for some friendly rapid-fire questions:
Are you a dog person or a cat person?
Early bird or night owl?
Favorite local beer?
Don’t like beer
What’s your best party trick?
Don’t have one
What show are you currently binging?
The West Wing—again…
Any book you’re currently reading?
Not reading anything currently
What are you looking forward to most in 2022?
Creating new productions
YD: Thanks, Dawn! It has been wonderful to hear your story and learn about how you’ve been able to touch so many lives through dance, even during a pandemic!
We’re always looking for local nonprofit organizations to feature in this series. Get in touch to find out more!