TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) — Steven Massey has been dancing all his life. His passion for the arts has fueled his mission to introduce young people to the creative outlet that is dance.
“To be able to give them something to create, let them explore the arts however they see fit, and then put it into a story or let them dance it out or sing it out or act it out or write it out, it’s a wonderful thing,” Massey said.
That’s why he founded the nonprofit organization called It Takes A Village, Inc. It’s a performing arts program for kids and young adults ages 10-20. The program puts on different productions throughout the year, and this summer, they’re doing their first ever dance camp.
Nija Bailey is one of the participants. She’s been dancing for over ten years, and recently started dancing with It Takes A Village.
“Here, it’s like nobody is judging you,” Bailey said. “You can be bad at something and nobody is going to be like ‘oh my gosh, you’re bad’. They’re going to help you be better and make you succeed. Nobody is holding you down. They make you come up.”
Nija’s dad, Greg Bailey, said the organization has had a huge impact on her not only as a dancer, but also as a person.
“She’s excelled,” he said. “She’s been featured at least a time or two. She’s gained new friendships, new relationships. Probably from a parental perspective, one of the things we enjoy most especially about the summer is she’s up and she’s eager to get out of bed really early in the morning coming over to work and she’s tired at night.”
Although It Takes A Village helps students find their footing as performers, they’re also helping them find their voices as young adults.
“That child then begins or that young person begins to feel like they have power within themselves to tell their own personal story and everybody’s story is important,” Massey said.
It Takes a Village will be putting on a production called “All Girls Dream” at 7 p.m. Saturday, July 18 at the Topeka Performing Arts Center. You can buy tickets HERE.