Infusion aids cancer research

Annual fashion show offers bursaries

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Infusion dancers

Courtesy of Travis Mazereeuw

Infusion is back for its fifth year, but this time it isn’t following its usual roots.

The student designers, models and dancers from across the city are busy preparing the fashion show for Feb. 9 at the London Convention Centre in support of young cancer survivors.

The not-for-profit charity fashion show began in 2003 as a means to help cancer charities. This year, Infusion has shifted its focus to helping youth and young adults directly, offering $2,000 bursary packages for postsecondary education. It also pays the debts from the cost of cancer care, since the average patient has $25,000 of debt.

“Cancer patients aged 13 to 28 are a unique segment, as people younger than 13 get cancers that are common in that age. People over 30 get cancers that are common, too " the middle segments get cancers from all over the place, so it’s a lot harder to assess and treat,” Shawna Eiseinstat, creative director and choreographer for Infusion, says.

Eiseinstat has been involved with the show since the beginning. “One of my girlfriends received an email from the organization looking for dancers and asked if I wanted to come out and try out. I didn’t want to dance, but I thought to myself, they probably need choreographers. So I sent an email to them and I got brought on to do the show.”

Having taught hip-hop at Western for five years, as well as having her own dance studio in London (Élan Dance Arts), Eisentstat incorporates a variety of musical styles into the show, ranging from hip-hop and breakdance to lyrical and jazz.

“I used to hold auditions for choreographers, but now I bring in friends with dance history or guest choreographers … I have a few coming from Toronto, like Shawn Byfield from Hairspray and Kim Parnell from Ab Strakt Breakin’ Systemz.”

Infusion, however, is different from other fashion shows. “One of our main things that we hold above other fashion shows is that we audition models that aren’t stereotypically ‘model’ skinny or tall. We accept anybody [from] all sizes, shapes, colours " as long as they are passionate about our organization.”

One of this year’s surprises is a guest appearance by Omarion, R&B crooner and former lead singer of B2K. With fashion scenes like socialite, corporate and celebrity, this show is guaranteed to be worth the cost. Ticket prices may be steep, but considering the cause and the entertainment, the Infusion Fashion Show is the place to be this coming weekend.

Infusion tickets range from $41, $46, and $65 for regular, premium, and VIP tickets, and can be bought at a booth near the Tim Hortons in the UCC from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. every day this week.

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