The Step Ahead Dance Ensemble stepped into the new school year with their first class on Monday, September 12th. The program is Joy of Motion Dance Center’s training and performing ensemble that focuses on the dance traditions of the African Diaspora. The program is offered to DC youth between the ages of 14 and 18 years old. Ensemble dancers train on Mondays and Wednesdays from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. at our Atlas studio in a variety of African and African- derived movement forms, such as Afro Jazz, hip hop, tap and West African dance. The Ensemble keeps DC teens engaged and safe during risk-filled after-school hours, boosts their levels of physical activity and develops a sense of pride in their cultural heritage. Last year, our teens gave examples of how the Ensemble helped them achieve positive outcomes:
- On working positively with peers: “Working with different people is hard but we got together and did it.”
- On making a positive choice in her health: “Instead of sitting in my house all afternoon, I come to dance.”
The Ensemble also has several opportunities to perform throughout the year. Last year, the dancers performed at the Catalogue for Philanthropy launch at the Harman Center, at our fall youth company concert at the Atlas Performing Arts Center, and on the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage at the invitation of JOMDC’s resident arts partner Life, Rhythm, Move Project.
The Step Ahead Dance Ensemble is one of the free programs JOMDC offers through Project Motion Community Outreach. This year, the generous supporters of JOMDC’s Dance is for Everyone Youth Scholarship Program made it possible for DC teens to participate in the Ensemble. For more information about JOMDC’s outreach programs, click here or contact Quynn Johnson at 202-399-6764 ext 163.