Dance studio

Philadelphia dance studio helps girls deal with surge in gun violence

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) — The house of legends dance group, based in West Philadelphia, is more than just movement.

The group focuses on helping to heal trauma and is currently at the forefront of helping people deal with rising gun violence.

“Here I can express my feelings. I can tell my story,” said eighth grader Makayla Miles.

The owner said it’s not a dance school, it’s an experience. The dancers use their grace and composure to express their dreams, as well as their anger and fear.

“My dad used to deliver packages. He works for FedEx, and then people shot him multiple times,” Miles said.

“It doesn’t make me want to leave the house. And even that scares me because I’ve heard stories all over the news of people being shot at in stores, in their homes, at football games.” , said Kennedy Browning, a 7th grader.

The owner, Shayna Yvonne Rudd, is a former teacher and licensed therapist. She specializes in dance therapy.

“Using your body as a vehicle to free yourself from your greatest fears, your greatest anxiety, your greatest trauma from pain and depression, any psychodynamic issues is a great honor,” Rudd said.

She said sadly that every student has lost a loved one or someone they know to gun violence.

According to Philadelphia police, so far in 2021, 363 people have been shot and killed. Of these victims, 28 were children under the age of 18, four were black girls.

Legends House now plans to expand its mission by touring schools in Philadelphia. The hope is that other students learn that there is a positive way to deal with their feelings.

For many young dancers, it’s one step at a time and many leaps of faith to keep hope alive.

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