Philadelphia dance studio helps girls cope with ongoing gun violence

The dancers use their grace and poise to express their dreams, as well as anger and fear.
PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- The Legends House dance group, based out of West Philadelphia, is so much more than just the motions.

The group focuses on helping people heal from trauma, and is currently at the forefront of helping people cope with the uptick in gun violence.

"Here I can express my feelings. I can tell my story," said Makayla Miles, an 8th grader.

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

"My dad was delivering packages. He works for FedEx, and then people came at him shooting multiple times," Miles said.

"It makes me not want to go out the house. And even that make me scared because I heard stories all over the news of people getting shot at stores, at their house, 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.

"To use your body as the vehicle to get a release from your greatest fears, your greatest anxiety, your greatest trauma from pain and depression, from any psychodynamic issue is a great honor," Rudd said.

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

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

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

For many of the young dancers, its one step at a time and many leaps of faith to keep hope alive.

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