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How a West Philly dance troupe gives back to its community

PHILADELPHIA — Damon “Dinksworth” Holley found his calling as hip-hop dancer on the streets of West Philadelphia. After touring the country with a professional dance company, Holley formed Project Positive, a hip-hop dance group that aims to inspire and give back to the community through workshops and public performances.

“We were at-risk youth at one point,” Holley told WHYY. “That’s a big reason we come back to our community: to give back and let kids know that if we can do it, you can do it too.”

David Dingle (left) and Damon Holley (right) of Project Positive. Image courtesy of Monica Rogozinski/WHYY

Mantras like “P.E.A.C.E” (Positive Energy Allows Constant Elevation) and “H.I.P-H.O.P” (Healthy Independent People Helping Other People) represent the core of Project Positive’s mission to help kids build self-esteem, lasting friendships and an entrepreneurial spirit.

“It’s helped me develop more creativity in my lifestyle,” said Project Positive student Kevin Harris. “They were those healthy, independent folks who were there to help me. And I plan to do the same because of the encouragement and because of the motivation.”

Due to COVID-19, Project Positive has postponed many performances, workshops and classes, but the company hosts weekly online hip-hop dance classes via Zoom on Mondays at 12 p.m. ET.

This report originally appeared on WHYY’s “Movers & Makers.”

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