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28 Jun 2021

MLSE Grant Improves Lives for UrbanArts Dance Participants During Lockdown!

“UrbanArts dance program encouraged me to dance. They provided a safe, non-judgmental, free open space for me to learn and work on my dance skills.” Dance Program Participant

UrbanArts continuously runs a digital version of 1, 2 Step: Healthy Living Through Hip Hop Dance throughout lockdown and beyond with funding from the MLSE Foundation. It’s a program that harnesses the unifying force of dance and movement to change the lives of youth in seven of Toronto’s Neighbourhood Improvement Areas (NIAs) through healthy lifestyle practices and physical activity. 

The dance facilitators and program staff redesigned a whole new digital version of the program via Zoom sessions, pre-recorded videos and incorporating Tik Tok moves. The successful new format may even continue to run in conjunction with physical programming when its safe again helping to extend the geographical reach of this exciting program so even more youth can participate in the future.

“I was excited about the idea behind the dance program that UrbanArts has put together. It was encouraging, motivating, it initiated belief in oneself and turned dance and healthy eating into a lifestyle. I had such an amazing time being a facilitator and working with the students, it left a beautiful imprint on my heart seeing the students come together to be a part of the program” UrbanArts Dance Facilitator

The response from the community and participants is amazing. While lockdown kept the community isolated the program provided an opportunity for unity. Participants get physical exercise through movement, learn new dance skills, and improve their mental health by staying emotionally connected with their community through dance.

“UrbanArts dance program encouraged me to dance. They provided a safe, non-judgmental, free open space for me to learn and work on my dance skills.” Dance Program Participant

UrbanArts has created inclusive and welcoming spaces in the real and virtual worlds for isolated and marginalized youth that continue now throughout the pandemic and into the future all made possible with funding from the MLSE Foundation.

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