by Dina Kupfer

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — A local dance studio has been helping children of all ethnicities and backgrounds process their emotions through movement.

By definition, dance means to move rhythmically to music. But in the wake of current events — from the death of George Floyd to the COVID-19 pandemic — these dancers are moving as a form of expression.

“Dancing means I can let out my emotions. I can be free, and I can just be myself,” Keke Jones said.

Keke Jones is taking part in one of several free pop-up dance classes in Sacramento instructed by Tee Sandifer, CEO of Studio T Arts.

“These pop-ups, we’re very strategic with the communities that we’re going into because we really want to service our kids that are really have been in a pressure cooker of all of this stuff and just have to release,” Sandifer said.

Miss Tee has been teaching dance for more than 20 years, particularly in communities where kids are what she calls: trauma-informed.

“One of the best forms of therapy that we found is dance. It gives them a way to express themselves. Sometimes they don’t know how to say ‘I’m scared,’ sometimes they don’t know to say ‘I’m anxious,’ sometimes they don’t know how to say ‘I’m stressed out,'” Sandifer said.

And one eight-count at a time, her dancers are able to move through those emotions.

“It opened me up to experience new things from different perspectives,” Sandifer said.

It’s a step in the right direction, Miss Tee says, toward positive change and solutions-based conversations.

“Our objective is, if we can get them relieving their anger and stress and pressure this way, you won’t find them doing some other unsavory things that are more detrimental than helpful,” Sandifer said.

If you would like to sign up for a free pop-up class or to take part in online classes, you can go to studiotdance.com

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