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In Search Of...Misty's Dance Dudes

By Jennifer Livingston, jlivingston@wkbt.com
Published On: May 31 2013 08:48:56 AM CDT
Updated On: May 31 2013 11:19:01 AM CDT
ONALASKA, Wis. -

Dance is an art form that involves grace.  Poise. And typically....girls. But a class at Misty's Dance Unlimited in Onalaska is proving that's not always the case.

These boys are here and taking the local dance scene by storm. "When we started 15 years ago we had an occasional boy here and there," said Misty Lown, owner of Misty's Dance Unlimited. "But eight years ago we dedicated a class just to the boys. It's just slowly grown and the last three years it's just blown up."

And that is thanks in part to a popular dance craze. "Hip hop is the language of the teenage boy. It's the music they listen to an what they see on TV," Lown said.

"There's a lot of screaming people. Especially girls."

"My aunt used to tell me hip-hop gets all the ladies."

"They love us."

They come from different schools, different backgrounds, they're all different ages. But walk through these doors and they're suddenly all the same. "It's just a really fun environment. A bunch of guys hanging out and having a really good time. We all get along really well.  We have a really good time."

"They can be in a place that they won't be judged.  We have friends there to encourage us and cheer us on."

"There really is no other way to describe it but they are a team."

And that's what makes this story, this class about more than just dancing. It's about belonging. "It's amazing." Something dance mom Rebecca Oneil has been hoping her son Sam would find. "He's anxious and he's really sensitive and he used to let things get to him. And he gets picked on. But he's changed. He's not that kid anymore. It made a huge difference. His sense of humor came out he talks to people he doesn't hide in the corner."

"We're seeing transformation outside the classroom. They're getting better grades, they are speaking better to their parents, they are able to stand up to bullies in the school and to us, that's what it's all about."

"The influences are so positive. People are not allowed to pick on each other here. It's only supportive. Everyone is so talented. The positive energy it literally changes your life. I feel that. I know it."

For some it took a leap of faith. "It was kind of scary. didn't know what to do at first but they came up to me and said hi and told me what to do?"

"When they come into class, they'll stand in the back corner so afraid.  And two months later they are rocking it out."

"We are in this for the kids and if we can provide these kids with a sense of self worth of teach them theat they're fearfully and wonderfully made. They have a hope and a future. That's the message we want them to leave with when they walk out these doors."

"I love to do it. And I'm so glad I did."

"Don't be nervous. Just do it. If dance is your thing...then it's your thing. If you're worried about people making fun of you. Show them the moves and you'll probably impress them and change their minds."

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