Oklahoma dance camp honors young ballerina’s life

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – A young ballerina who was killed in a tragic Driver’s Ed accident last year is being remembered through her love of dance.

15-year-old Hope Shaffer was killed in January of 2020 when a car rear ended the Driver’s Ed car she was riding in the backseat of.  

Hope was a dancer with dreams of going pro and sharing her passion with other kids.

“She loved dance and that’s what she wanted to share with the world,” said her mom, Charla Shaffer.  

One of her dance teachers, Rayleigh Vendt, who is a professional ballerina, taught Hope for two years.  

“In that small amount of time, she made such a great impression on me as such a wonderful, kind, funny individual and just had such a passion for ballet. She just danced and you could see the joy emanating from her movement and it inspired other kids. It inspired teachers,” said Vendt.  

Hope’s biggest dream was to provide dance classes to children who might not be able to afford lessons on their own.  

Her dreams are now being realized. Her parents, Nick and Charla Shaffer, created “Dancing for Eternity,” a fund in Hope’s name.  

Through donations, they’ve fully funded a week-long dance camp for eight girls.  

Vendt is teaching the class and says it’s already been successful.  

“Almost half of them have never taken a ballet class in their life and this is their first ballet class. We give them ballet shoes. We provide them with all the necessary requirements for a ballet class,” said Vendt.

Hope’s parents say it brings them joy to see Hope’s dreams come to life.  

“It’s been amazing to see the community support this. Overwhelming to us the love that we’ve felt from the community in supporting Hope’s dream,” said Shaffer.

“This dance camp I know means a lot to Hope and I know she’s watching and is incredible, incredibly proud of what her parents have accomplished in her name,” said Vendt.  

“Dancing for Eternity” is offering more scholarships for dance classes. Applications for students are due July 1 and parents can apply online.

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