B.Funk Performs


Aries Matheos, Correspondent, The Capital Newspaper

Children who attend the Boys & Girls Club at Wiley H. Bates Heritage Park in Annapolis got funky this past Tuesday for National Boys & Girls Club Week when professional dance company, b.Funk came to show its support of the club by giving children a show.

"Many of our dancers have been members of the Boys and Girls Club who needed an outlet for their time and talent and they were able to discover dance," said Crishon Landers, a choreographer for b.Funk. "Now they're able to perform and can use it to show how dance relates to being part of a collective unit and how hard work and strict discipline can pay off."

When Lisa Mondoro, director of programs for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Annapolis & Anne Arundel County, saw the dance company out of Ellicott City, she knew she wanted them to perform for the clubs because of their message.

"These dancers are use to performing on stage, but never does it carry the weight, meaning and substance, as it does now, to show someone who is in a similar situation to one you used to be in that you can achieve whatever you want," Landers said.

Landers spoke to the crowd of children gathered in the gym at Wiley H. Bates Heritage Park on Tuesday afternoon in between b.Funk performances about how anything can be made possible through passion and perseverance. "We want to teach these young aspiring students that they can achieve whatever they want," Landers said. "They can be a dancer or a neurosurgeon or anything else.

" This is the message that Steven Cornette, CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of Annapolis & Anne Arundel County, wanted to impart on students. Cornette saw an opportunity to impart an inspiring message through b.Funk's involvement in this year's theme, "Open the Door, Take the Tour," which focuses on club supporters getting involved. "The teens here wanted them to come show them their dance moves, and so did we," Cornette said. "But we also wanted them here so the teens in b.Funk could show those who attend our Boys and Girls Clubs their creativity, dedication and that their are multiple avenues they can take through hard work."

Sending this message is part of Cornette's efforts to create a place where youth can come to thrive not just in school, but in life as well. "Our youth are the heart of the community and it's our responsibility to provide a place that will positively influence and guide them during critical out-of-school hours," Cornette. "More than 11 million youth have no place to go after school and Boys & Girls Clubs offer a place where kids can learn, grow and be successful in school and life. Boys & Girls Club Week is a great time to see how we impact the lives of young people through programs aimed to promote academic success, a healthy lifestyle and good character and leadership skills.

" The performance concluded with a question and answer segment, where members asked questions like, "how do you remember all of the steps?" and "why are all the girls so pretty?" The answer to the first question was "practice;" the second question – laughter.

Arriel Surgeon, 17, a junior staff member at the club, has been a part of the club's mission to facilitate growth in members, also is helping members to grow. "During National Boys & Girls Club Week the staff here really incorporates a lot of activities that the kids can relate to, benefit from, and have fun doing, like yesterday we had an academic success day where we recognized members for their achievements in school and played a bunch of different games," Surgeon said. "b. Funk's performance is another planned event that fits into all of our goals and I think they'll really enjoy it."
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