Student-Led Dance Company Aids Victims of Typhoon Yolanda

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During the Fall 2012 semester, senior Jemarc Axinto founded Dance is COMMUNITY, a dance company that started here on campus and eventually moved to an off-campus studio, House of Dance, in Hollywood, MD. During the season (from August to June, when school is in session), people can attend workshops once a month, featuring dance teachers from the Maryland, DC, and Virginia areas, as well as from North Carolina. For 12 dollars, people can attend three workshops, all taking place on the same day, from 9 am to 4 pm, and workshops are once a month, on the second or third weekend.

Axinto founded Dance is COMMUNITY for a simple purpose: to bring people who are passionate about dancing together and form a community. Axinto said, “There aren’t many opportunities for people who are passionate to really experience a community base.” Additionally, studios in the area more often feature contemporary and modern dance, with not much hip-hop. Axinto added, “For the first three years, it was just me dancing in my basement, posting videos on YouTube…but at the same time I was able to be self-motivated and not a lot of people get that opportunity… I thought to myself, what if I built up this idea of community? Come experience something with a group of people you are pretty much guaranteed to see once a month, people you can grow with, people you can see grow every time they come out, and through that you can get training; through that you can get passionate.”

When asked why he named his company “Dance is COMMUNITY,” Axinto responded, “People ask, ‘What does dance mean to you?’ and a lot of people say that dance is passion, dance is family, dance is community. To have that is really important, to have this base that is not about competition in a world where everyone’s struggling to be the best. It’s not about looking good, it’s just about growth, and the self, and building something around a community as opposed to building something around your own self-involvement. It means that you’re willing to not only take critique, but you’re also willing to accept other people’s talents and use that as motivation to build you up instead of using it as something to make you feel like you can’t do this anymore.”

On Saturday, Dec. 14, Dance is COMMUNITY will be offering three workshops from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. to support aid relief in the Philippines. On Nov. 8, an extremely powerful storm, known as Typhoon Yolanda, tore through the Philippines, and as a supporter of Arts for the PI, Dance is COMMUNITY will be donating proceeds from these workshops, as well as any other donations, to the Philippines Red Cross. The workshop will be at House of Dance in Hollywood, MD. The cost is 18 dollars per class, and 45 dollars for all three classes (but 40 dollars if you bring a friend).

For those who wish you attend, you can register using Eventbrite. For those who do not wish to attend but wish to donate, contact Jemarc Axinto at jraxinto1@smcm.edu. For more information on this fundraiser, go to the event page (called Dance for a Difference, Aid for Yolanda) on Facebook.

More information on Dance is COMMUNITY can be seen on their Facebook page and videos can be seen on their YouTube channel.

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