BY AMANDA MOSES
Over the summer, Spring Creek Teen Central launched a new program inviting its female members to express themselves artistically. The initiative was deemed the Girls Empowerment Movement (GEM), where females can find a way to express their voices through the arts. The first activity the girls participated in was Afro-Hip Hop dance classes.
In July, a group of 12 girls joined GEM and met twice a week with a Summer Youth Employment Work-er, Brianna Bostic, in a Brooklyn Sports Club exercise studio. The group felt like there were in a professional dance studio, surrounded by freshly polished wooden floors and wall-to-ceiling glass mirrors. Bostic first introduced the teens to the history of Afro-Hip Hop, a dance movement that began in Africa during the 1980s. It is a blend of West African traditional dance moves with an American influence. This style is very complex because it takes a lot of work learning the coordination, rhythm, timing, and moving with a team in unison.
With pure grit determination and a penchant for dancing, the teens mastered their choreography and contributed a few routines of their own. They not only learned a new form of dance and the history be-hind Afro-Hip Hop culture, but they also gained an appreciation for the amount of discipline it takes for performers to prepare for a piece.
On August 7th, the teens show-cased their weeks of effort in a final performance for parents and friends to enjoy. The girls placed a hand-made poster with their logo, GEM, across a wall so that everyone could appreciate what their group stands for—female empowerment. Teen Central’s staff set up speakers, lights, and even a camera so that the showcase exuded maturity and professionalism.
An ethereal glow shrouded the girls as they spread their arms wide and stomped their feat to a pulsing hip-hop beat. The opening performance was a step routine entirely choreographed by the students, and the following dances were developed by both Bostic and the teens. The production had many of the guests in awe by the sheer talent emanating from the girls.
The next initiative GEM will be participating in is up-cycling arts and crafts, which invites members to take old clothes and pieces of fabric and transform it into something fashionable.
Photos by Amanda Moses