Resolutions set the tone for First Night

You've got to see how State College's ice sculptures were made

New Year's Eve ice sculptors took part in ice carving at First Night in downtown State College.
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New Year's Eve ice sculptors took part in ice carving at First Night in downtown State College.

For Shannon Bishop, setting a New Year’s resolution was rather easy.

To continue learning more about belly dancing — a dance she’s made into her hobby and career.

The State College-based belly dance instructor held a workshop Saturday afternoon at The State Theatre.

It was part of a series of arts-and-crafts-themed workshops during First Night State College, an annual family-oriented, alcohol-free New Year’s celebration.

And she said it’s the kind of dance for everyone, and one that can help with other peoples’ goals for the new year.

“So many people are looking to be more active, and this is a fun way to get in shape,” Bishop said. “It’s great for all ages, all shapes and sizes and body types.”

The workshop included about 20 participants — some who wore provided Egyptian hip scarves, tied with a knot on one side.

Bishop, owner of Black Cat Belly Dance, showed the group about five basic moves. Before the end of the class, they choreographed those moves to a song.

She’s held First Night belly dancing workshops for about seven years.

“I think it’s just continuing to learn about (the dance) and providing the experience to others,” Bishop said. “And it really fits perfectly this time of year where people are setting goals to learn something new.”

That was a theme of First Night: Setting New Year’s resolutions.

Among ice sculptures that lined South Allen Street, were also publicized resolutions. Visitors were able to write down what they hope for the new year, and hang it on a rack for others to see.

Kimberly Li, mother of three, said she’s using her children as inspiration for something that could help her family save money and eat healthier.

“We pack their lunches for school everyday, yet we don’t do that for ourselves,” she said. “It’s maybe a little stupid of a goal for next year, but I hope instead of going out every day for lunch at work, I, too, can pack my lunch.”

Down the street on Calder Way, another workshop was being held.

Amy Frank, owner of The Makery, held a three-hourlong session for children and their families to paint river stones.

Frank said participants were encouraged to paint two stones and add one word to each stone that will represent 2017. One stone was to keep, the other stone was part of The Markery’s new Make Majic Project, which allows people to leave art in random public places.

“That’s one of our goals, to spread art and creativity to the community and bring inspiration to others by art,” Frank said.

Eleven-year-old Sophia Espin wrote “worship” on one stone and “action” on the other.

“Worship,” she said, represented how she wants to attend church more and become a youth missionary. The stone with the word “action” on it, was her stone to share with others.

“I hope if people see it, they can be a part of a greater good when they see unfairness in the world and take action for what they think is right,” Sophia said.

Britney Milazzo: 814-231-4648, @M11azzo