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Anti-bullying dance company to premiere new show

Project Moves, a nonprofit youth dance company that garnered national attention for its anti-bullying efforts in 2011, will debut a new show April 5 and 6 at Bridgewater-Raynham Regional High School. “I Am: When Being Yourself Is Enough” is designed to send a message of self-acceptance to young people.

“Really, what this show is dedicated to is making our kids feel like they fit in,” said Rennie Gold, owner of the Gold School, a Brockton dance studio that founded Project Moves as a performance company. The company separated from the school to become a tax-exempt organization last year so it could accept donations to support its mission and ensure that tickets would be free for youths.

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The show features 60 dancers, ages 7 to 18, and incorporates a performance by teenage folk singer Hayley Reardon of Marblehead, who received an honorable mention in the Boston Globe’s 2012 Bostonians of the Year. Reardon sold out two solo shows at Club Passim in Harvard Square, pairing her talent with a message of bullying prevention and collective responsibility.

Gold said the new Project Moves production follows up on 2011’s “Accept Me” by focusing on the inner journey to self-respect, a journey teens make amid social and academic pressures that can lead to depression and suicide.

He is very proud, he said, of what his students have done in the past year, not just in terms of dance, but in taking the message outside the studio, acting as a caring support for other people in their lives, and sharing their experiences with other dancers in the company.

“I love where the kids have gone this year,” he said. “I call it, ‘sharing the message, living the message.’ ”

Rich DeJordy, a Project Moves board member, said the young dancers take questions after each performance, and the peer-to-peer communication is powerful.

“They have become really well educated and good ambassadors for tolerance,” he said.

In addition to shows at local high schools, Project Moves has performed at the Joyce Theater and the Fire Island Dance Festival in New York. Four students made a guest appearance on ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars” in 2011.

Since becoming a nonprofit organization in January 2012, the company has raised $30,000 to ensure that tickets will be free to middle and high school students, Gold said. Adult tickets for the upcoming 7:30 p.m. performances are $25. For advance tickets and information, visit www.projectmoves.org.

Jennette Barnes can be reached at jennettebarnes@yahoo.com.
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