Hattiesburg dance studio provides a safe space for community
HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - One Pine Belt dance instructor uses his voice and the power of movement to motivate and strengthen the community.
E.J. James is the owner of Xfinity Dance Studio, located in Hattiesburg. From ballet and jazz to tap, hip hop and contemporary, James teaches a variety of styles.
“By coming in here, we are indirectly allowing them to express themselves,” James said. “They can express it with their movement.”
He started his business in 2010 to give kids a way to express themselves and create a place where the community can learn, grow and progress as individuals.
A community leader and mentor, James said he had a recent battle with his health. However, he refuses to let that stop him.
“In November 2021, I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, and I didn’t expose that until our showcase, which was in May,” James said. “As a mentor, we have to be strong, but in today’s time, we don’t always have to be strong. We can show that we’re upset or hurt because we’re human.”
Despite his condition, James said he would continue to teach others the art of dance. He said he wants to be a support system for others.
“Our classes were supposed to start Aug. 8, but we’re actually going to start the week after Labor Day,” James said. “Simply because the kids are just getting into school, and we preach about education. So we want education to be the primary part, and we just allow them to get into school then to have activities after that.”
James said mentorship and helping others will help strengthen the community and keep everyone moving forward.
In the future, he wants to create a serenity garden so students and other community members can bury their worries and watch something beautiful grow.
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