Tabetha Clark is much more than a dancer. The Bellingham-based performer and founder of ABC Dance is a force of nature who inspires others not only when it comes to onstage action, but also behind the scenes and beyond.
Tabetha is also a mother, wife, sister and—after recently being diagnosed with stage four lung cancer—a fighter.
At “A Show of Love” fundraiser taking place throughout the day and into the night Sat., Oct. 13 at the Firehouse Arts and Event Center, many of those who are on Tabetha’s team will be in attendance to help raise funds for her and her family as she continues treatment.
You can help by showing up from 1-5pm for a lawn party featuring live music, a raffle, a beer garden, food and yard games, face painting, bubbles and a tap dance stage for kids. At 5pm and 7:30pm, performances by members of Bellingham Repertory Dance (BRD), Sugar, and ABC Dance’s tap company will take place inside. (If you can’t make either event, donations are also being collected via GoFundMe.)
Brie Turoff, who’s helping organize the fundraiser, has known Tabetha since she and her husband moved from New York City to Bellingham three years ago. They met at a BRD dance class, and it wasn’t long before Tabetha had agreed to choreograph Turoff’s Sugar Cabaret.
“Tabetha has been important to this community and the arts scene in so many ways,” Turoff says, pointing to the scores of kids and adults who’ve thrived under Tabetha’s tutelage, and to the many creative collaborations she undertakes. “Her talent is inspiring and contagious.”
Bellingham Arts Academy for Youth’s artistic director, Ian Bivins, agrees. He knows Tabetha through volunteering with BRD, mutual connections in the city’s performing arts scene, and as the mother of a BAAY student, and says her energy drives projects and inspires students of many ages.
“I love so many things about Tabi,” Bivins says. “Her incredible sense of humor, her sailor’s mouth, her laugh, her passion for dance and performance, her motherfucking stage presence, her fearlessness as a mother, her kindness, her hugs, her selflessness in caring for others, her curiosity.
“In truth, the challenges facing Tabetha and her family could happen to any of us. As a artistic community, we are only a few degrees of separation away from one another at most. One of our blessings, because we are so connected, is to be able to rally behind one of our own in a time of need. Someday I’ll need the love, too.”
Fellow dancers Juliette Machado and Pam Kuntz also point to Tabetha’s skills as an educator, and the fact that she has so much to offer current and future dance students in Bellingham.
“In a world full of hardship, I think it’s important to hone our collective focus and put energy into those in our community,” Machado says. “A gesture of support of any size will make a big difference to Tabetha’s family and her fight against cancer.”