9/07/2015

Dancing PINK in the Street!



Living as a breast cancer survivor, I have developed a love of life beyond what I had prior to my diagnosis. I realize I am one of the lucky, blessed individuals who gets a second chance to live a fulfilled life.  And in lieu of that, each year, when Making Strides against Breast Cancer comes up, I am involved.

My motivation for volunteering is too many people I have known have not been so lucky. They are on a life path of dealing with metastatic breast cancer or have died.  I have friends that are  currently struggling through treatment.

My other drive is our youth.  Specifically, one little girl who has my heart, my granddaughter is at the forefront of my mind when I think of breast cancer. Seeing Ava so full of life and so unique, I don’t want to think something nasty like breast cancer could dim her light.

Ava is a dancer, this is one of the things in life she is passionate about! It is part of who she is, the love of dance.    From as far back as I can remember, she wanted to dance when music came on. With her involvement in a dance studio, Grandma gets to sit back and quietly watch the rest of the world soak in her charismatic personality which is even stronger than her dancing.

Thinking about this one day gave me the idea of having a dance flash mob.  Taking dancing to the streets seemed like a logical move to me in a city known for music.   And to promote breast cancer in this way was something I have seen out there in other cities, but never in ours.  What a cool way to draw attention to American Cancer Society’s Making Strides for Breast Cancer! 

Justin Jenkins was an easy choice for being the choreographer. His dancing is phenomenal and his background shows he is well accomplished.   Justin grew up in Memphis, TN and went on to MTSU for college. He became a dancer in the group Southern Movement Dance Crew which competed on the TV show Dance Crew.  He teaches and choreographs hip-hip at Diamond Academy of Dance in Mt. Juliet, TN.  Justin shares his love of dance, live and laughter with every one of his students. 
Kemmian Beard, a close friend of Justin’s was on board too for choreography. He was also a dancer in Southern Movement Dance Crew. In addition to his choregraphy and teaching skills at American Academy of Dance, he has started his own company, Kemmian Bearded Productions. 

Justin and Kemmian  took a group of 50 dancers from two different studios Diamond Academy of Dance and American Academy of Dance and brought them together.  They also enlisted the Titans cheerleaders to be a part of this dance.  What they created was  a moment in time that none of us will soon forget. And they created momentum for Making Strides for Breast Cancer in Nashville at the same time. 

What unfolded was so touching, especially when you know the story behind the scenes. Every one that was a part of this volunteered their time and their talents.  All were ecstatic about being asked to be a part of this, including the youth’s parents.  They had exactly two practices on a Friday night in a gymnasium to learn a difficult routine and make it look seamless to the public. A four minute hip-hop routine with the Titans cheerleaders involved and Austin Jamal Philips, a hip-hop/break dancer starting it off making this dance much more complicated than it looked.

On Saturday, Sept. 5th, the Dance Flash Mob took place. Our dancers for this were scattered around the Bridgestone Arena plaza, where the Nashville Predators play, a big landmark for the city.  Amidst it, Kelly Clarkson’s song started with the Bridgestone DJ saying something to get everyone’s attention to the center of the plaza.  Austin Jamal Philips started dancing and spinning.  Four minutes of awesome dancing, smiling faces, the Titans cheerleaders dancing a segment all happened according to plan! And the dance ended showing everyone in Making Strides T-shirts with the hashtag of the event on the back of their shirts, #IGotPinked.

Social media was buzzing afterwards and because film crews were there at the event,  all major networks in the city talked about it in air that night.  We are hopeful there will be additional opportunities to discuss this event in the near future.  A great deal of work went into it and it deserves to have some continued momentum. 

My goal was to create noise.  Justin Jenkins, Kemmian Beard and the others they brought along for the ride did just that, and it was beautiful! Please support these two young men’s business ventures as they have selflessly given of themselves for this mission. They realize something I feel strongly about, life is not all about cancer, but every once in a while we have to come together, raise some money, Get Pinked and save some lives!