VANCOUVER — A diverse group of Vancouver artists will combine their talents for an evening of creative outpouring in support of mental wellness at the 2nd Annual Stand Up and Dance II event on October 8. Featuring painters, musicians, fashion designers and, of course, dancers, the event’s goal is to shed light on the positive impact creativity and movement have on our mental well-being when living with the trauma of sexual violence, bullying, and stress.

Carol Todd, whose daughter Amanda took her own life on October 10th as a result of the relentless on and off line bullying, will appear as an honoured guest to promote the Light Up the World Purple for Mental Health campaign, also on October 10th. In addition, author, speaker and documentarian Gabriella van Rij will be there to share her new book I Can Find My Might and documentary trailer for soon to be released Our Silence is Complicity and as an activist for Human Kindness. Both Carol Todd and Gabriella Van Rij have been guests on Dr. Phil.     

“Abuse and violence have no place in our society,” says event host Karen Kobel“We dance to lift our spirits and to find strength in the people who move alongside us. I have a voice, you have a voice, we all have a voice.”

Kobel, a local dance instructor and choreographer, organized Stand Up and Dance II to raise awareness locally of the empowering effects of creativity, and to raise funds for DANCE FOR HOPE, which will bring Kobel back to Kenya in 2015.   

Tembo Trading Education Project and Kobel have come together to improve the quality of education for over 800 primary school students in the poorest areas of Kenya. For the past ten years, the founders of Tembo Trading Education Project (TTEP), Debra Akre, PhD and Jeana King have been working in Kenya building and improving schools throughout Kenya.

Kobel and TTEP are working together to develop a dance program called DANCE FOR HOPE that will work to develop the creativity of the students and open them up to the possibilities of the performing arts. Kobel, Akre and King along with Fashion Hope are traveling to Kenya, in January of 2015, to introduce the program.

Structured to help audience members remember their common voice and to rejoice in life. Stand Up and Dance II will feature:

– Vancouver funk/reggae band, The Unified, who will play throughout the evening.
– Painters Tanya Lehoux and Hajni Yosifov create new works of art live on stage. 

– Fashion designers Shelley Klassen, Kjaer Natalia Pederson, and Susan Bibbingswill spotlight  their latest collections. (Jewelry featured in the show will come from Lotusland Imports, whose owner Susan Bibbings is currently fundraising for a new roof for the Dream Big Montessori School in Tanzania)

– The grand finale of the evening will feature four local dancers plus Kobel, who collaborated on the choreography for a new piece with veteran Chicago-based dancer, Lee Palmer

This last segment will feature an original dance piece will bring together Kobel’s sense of contemporary, lyrical, jazz fusion alongside Palmer’s ballet and improvisational style, telling a deep and passionate story of people coming together to use their voices not just to support victims and survivors of violation, but of mental wellness being compromised by others’ words and actions.  

“Stand Up and Dance II will be an important night for people to speak out together,”says Kobel. “To get up and dance together.” 

Stand Up and Dance II 
Date: October 8th
Location: Vancouver Fan Club, 1050 Granville Street
Time: Doors open at 7pm  
Fashion show and Dance performance will start at 8:30pm

Tickets are available at the door for $25 or online

For more information visit the Stand Up and Dance Facebook page: