FLINT (WJRT) - (11/10/19) - She's changing their lives with an '8 count.' A former pro dancer for an NFL team returned to her hometown to make a difference.
Her young students are ready to dance their way into your hearts with a special performance in Flushing today.
We caught up with Porcha Clemons last week as she was preparing 40 students from Heart of Worship Dance Studio for their fall recital.
The theme is: 'Make the World Dance Again.'
"So it's all about making everybody dance again. Let's get back to community-based, having fun figuring out our purpose," Clemons said.
She's doing for them what she was able to do for herself 5 years ago - find purpose through dance. Clemons says she overcame a learning disability and poor confidence through finding dance as a teen. She also was a part of the Detroit Mechanix Dancers and Detroit Pride Cheerleaders. While she had achieved professional status with these talented groups, something wasn't quite right with her on the inside.
"I served as an ambassador and a performer, and so with me being a part of the team and things like that, and with me being a leader at my church, a dance leader, I felt like i was stuck in both worlds," Clemons said.
That's a feeling she wanted to change.
"I didn't like that I was considered as a sex symbol," Clemons said.
She founded Heart of Worship Dance Studio in 2015 to serveg boys and girls in Genesee County and surrounding areas. Some of them are at-risk youth impacted by the water emergency, violence and trauma or with limited access to extra curricular activities like dance.
"I want to create my own platform. I'm going to bring something to give back to my community, something positive," Clemons said.
High school senior Destiny Towner says she's learning a lot.
"What I love about this class is that I can be myself and I can express how I feel through dancing," Towner said.
Clemons says more than 200 students have come through the program. They study different forms of dance - hip hop, ballet, tap, jazz and Clemons' favorite - liturgical.
"My main focus that I love that I'm passionate about is called liturgical. It's a worship - you'll see it more inside of churches, things like that, during worship," Clemons said.
5th grade student Dena Guy says she's been dancing with the program since age five.
"I feel powerful. I feel happiness, joy and loving," Guy said."I learned to be amazing, don't be nervous at what you do and keep going when you mess up."
"It just feels good. I just relate with others. I can understand others and I can see what they go through the same as I go through, and we dance like a family," Towner said.
40 dancers will perform at 4 o'clock today at Flushing High School.
Tickets are $15, and proceeds help support the program.
The Ruth Mott Foundation is also among theHeart of Worship Dance Studio's funders, which allows Clemons to offer the classes free or at a reduced rate to students.
For ticket information or to learn more, visit HOWDS.org.