Kalamity is a group of St. George dancers whose mission is “changing lives one kalamity at a time,” and it originated as a solution to a problem.
When Tia Stokes moved back to St. George, she found out there were no places to dance. She began to teach at Dixie State College, as well as perform. As time passed, she was able to create her own dance studio called The Vault.
She persevered through the initial difficult times of getting the word out and drawing in students.
“There would be times when I was happy if I got one student,” Stokes said.
Kalamity dancer Alexa Ford, a freshman general education major from St. George, said: "I remember when there would be me and one other girl. Sometimes she wouldn’t show and it would just be me. I got a lot of private lessons.”
Kalamity formed in 2007 as a performance group of an ever-evolving style of hip-hop. One year later one of the dancers, Tiffany Shoul, learned she had cancer. They began to put on benefit concerts to raise money and support their teammate. The only attendants at first were their supportive families, but gradually more began to come.
The dancers didn't stop helping because of their desire to aid a friend in need. They committed to raising money for one family in need every year. Through babysitting, bake sales, benefit concerts, car washes and dance clinics, they have raised thousands of dollars.
Their current focus is supporting Meg Haycock, or Mighty Meg, as they lovingly call her. Haycock was diagnosed with chondrosarcoma bone cancer on March 13, 2007.
According to an article written by Josh Haycock on Kalamity Dance's website, “Her cancer has metastasized to her soft tissue, despite undergoing dozens of surgeries, two failed attempts at chemotherapy, and new experimental procedures...through all of this, Meg has never given up.”
This is the spirit that the Kalamity dancers find to be so inspiring.
Cambria Horlacher, a sophomore general education major from St. George, said: “Meeting these families and individuals going through such difficult times have caused me to look outside of myself, to progress in character and have made us all better people. It truly has been a blessing in my life."
Recently the Kalamity dancers held a fundraising carwash for Haycock.
“It was amazing," said Stokes. "She supported us supporting her with a huge grin on her face. It’s the cause, it’s the big picture that matters. We want to help.”
And they have helped a variety of families in St. George, from the Bairds, a family of seven with parents who both have cancer, to Abby Doman, a young girl with restrictive hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.
“Every one we help is different," Horlacher said. "The best part is the overwhelming uplifting feeling we receive when we see how grateful and humble they are. It is life changing.”
As these dancers continue to support those in need, the public can help as well by attending the Kalamity events: Sept. 29 at Swiss Days and Oct. 27 performance for Night Against Domestic Violence.
According to a blog entry by Ashley Baird: “Our lives are not determined by what happens to us, but by how we react to what happens; not by what life brings to us, but by the attitudes we bring to life. A positive attitude causes a chain reaction of positive thoughts, events, and outcomes. It is a catalyst…a spark that creates extraordinary results.”