Dancing 'Christmas tree' to raise money for Pollokshields primary schools
EVEN better than a real Christmas tree, a dancer dressed as one is taking over the streets of the Southside to spread festive cheer and raise money.
Kate E. Deeming, a dance artist from Pollokshields, put on her dancing shoes and Christmas tree costume for the second year in a row, and this time, with even more tinsel and pom-poms.
Starting on Monday, she embarked on a journey to dance 100km over nine days. Following trails designed by children for a local Santa Dash, the dancing tree encourages locals to donate money towards extracurricular activities for primary schools in the area.
She said: "Last year, I decided to dress like a Christmas tree and raise money for fun stuff for the kids. I set an impossible goal of £5000, thinking 'I am never going to hit that'.
"I went out, and it was just so joyous, people really loved it! I ended up raising close to £10,000 and distributed it to all primary schools in the area.
"It was such a hit last year and I really enjoyed it, so I thought I really want to do that again. I was thinking about what it is the children need, so this year, the money will go towards specifically extracurricular activities."
Kate, who is known for her generosity, joy and talent in the community, hopes to give children some of their childhoods back.
She added: "I worked in many different areas and what I have witnessed here in the last couple of years is kids' childhoods have been taken away.
"I feel even more emboldened to create fun stuff for them. Let's just be silly and create opportunities for them to enjoy their lives.
"Particularly kids, who are already under a lot of pressure due to economic, social or family circumstances, I notice how difficult the past few years have been for them. We need to give them their childhoods back."
After the closure of all four community centres in the area, she is trying to alleviate some of the pressure on families to provide their children with activities. As a mum of a nine-year-old, she experiences a lot of the same challenges.
She has always been an advocate for children and her work has taken her all over the world, including Sri Lanka and North Philadelphia.
When not in a Christmas tree attire, Kate creates dance largely with primary school children, some of whom will join in and follow her, wearing festive accessories.
Even though the trail is public, the exact time and location are kept secret for an additional layer of fun to the event.
She said: "Part of the enjoyment of it is that it's not announced, if people come across me, they feel like they found a treasure.
"So, I am not going to tell people where I will be, but if you live in the area, look out the window!
"We are in a time of darkness and we need to provide the light, so that's what this is all about.
"It's about silliness, joy, not taking yourself seriously... you have to take the fun where you can get it.
"I feel like sometimes I have joy guns inside of me and I shoot them out, my eyes, my body are shooting joy out!"