Dance On From Bullying to Broadway

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Several members of Dance On took The Morning Show stage to tell the story of how they got started and how the organization has grown and evolved.

Dance On’s Roots

In 2018, the Long family turned an upsetting experience into something positive.  Then 14-year-old Jimmy Long was harassed by classmates after participating in a dance performance meant to entertain.  “I was more in shock because I wasn’t really expecting that and had never really dealt with that before,” said Jimmy. “So it was interesting to see the negativity from something that was meant to be positive and uplifting.”

From there, Jimmy and his parents sold t-shirts with the phrase “Dance On” to encourage kids to continue to do just that, despite bullying from other kids. It became a movement of sorts, selling more than $12,000 in t-shirts and using that money to provide scholarships to the Midwest Edge Dance Academy.  Eventually, the catchphrase Dance On would snowball into the name of a non-profit organization started by Jimmy’s father, Gregory Long, with the mission of encouraging other male dancers like Jimmy.

“I think that was my way of supporting Jimmy and other male dancers or anybody who enjoys something that society deems not the norm,” said Gregory.

Importance of Hyper Local Media Coverage

NCTV17 was the first to tell the story of Dance On and has continued to provide coverage of the wonderful work the organization has done in the community.  The Long family attributes much of their success to NCTV17 sharing their story and amplifying their voice.

“With that coverage, we’ve been able to have enough visibility and support that we’ve been able to provide 100 scholarships for artists over the last four years,” said Gregory Long.