Transforming Lives Through the Art of Dance – NBC Los Angeles

on Aug8
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Dance can be a powerful way to show emotion and to express yourself, there’s one special studio in LA that is changing lives through the art of dance.

“I think my mother heard through a friend of hers that there was a new program that was opening up,” said Alice Kim a dance instructor at Everybody Dance LA.

Kim was just 8-years-old growing up without many options in the inner-city.

“I was extremely timid,” Kim said. “I felt I really didn’t have a safe place where I could really express myself.”

But that changed the day she stepped on to the dance floor at Everybody Dance LA and began a journey that would teach her discipline and dedication. This ultimately led her to discover her passion of ballet.

“I loved ballet because it was so just elegant and I loved the fact that they could express themselves with these really lovely long lines,” Kim said.

Kim was one of the original students of the nonprofit Everybody Dance LA when it opened its doors in 1999. It teaches high quality dance technique, ballet, jazz, hip hop, and salsa to students in lower income areas of LA.

But it’s about more than dance, it’s about learning life skills.

“Our goal is to really help the kids cultivate their own positivity and their own best selves, so that they can just shoot through the stars,” said Tina Banchero the artistic director.

Everybody Dance LA was founded by Liza Bercovici in memory of her 13-year-old daughter Gabriella who loved to dance.

It started with just 35 students and it now serves more than 5,000 from mostly immigrant families in several areas of LA including South LA, East LA, and Watts.

The majority of dance students stay for eight years but some stay as many as 14 years. Almost all go onto college.

“When you have long-term relationships with youth you make the biggest impact,” Banchero said.

Now after years of dance training and a professional career Kim is back at Everybody Dance LA as an instructor paying it forward, sharing her passion.

“I feel like Everybody Dance LA is a safe place for the kids to come and to learn a beautiful art form and to really let down any walls and to make this their sanctuary where they could really learn,” Kim said.

Teaching a new generation what it means to be disciplined and dedicated which are skills they can carry with them for life.

“She [Kim] literally embodies our mission, which is to transform the lives of youth through high quality dance education,” Banchero said.

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