Local Springfield dance show now an arts-based nonprofit

A local dance show is now an arts-based charitable nonprofit.

Dance Stomp Shake is a cultural event held during Black History Month at Wittenberg University that is both a showcase and competition with cash prizes.

The dance show has been held two times over the last few years since 2019. The first competition in Ohio was held in February 2020 at the John Legend Theater, but then COVID-19 hit. The show was then “resurrected” and sold out with 1,300 tickets for the second competition held in February of this year at the Kuss Auditorium.

Julius Bailey is the founder and executive director of Dance Stomp Shake, Inc., as well as a professor of philosophy at Wittenberg University.

“We funneled it out of the work we did at Wittenberg. We wanted to expand the brand, have our own kind of brand,” he said.

After this year’s show, Bailey heard from organizations and businesses about how he pulls off the event since “being able to provide an event that had primarily people of color in it and the audience it was a pretty big deal to some people.” They were also interested in being able to contact him for other events to celebrate culture.

“I then thought maybe I should be thinking about us as more of a community organization, maybe even a statewide organization eventually,” he said. “Businesses and organizations are trying to find ways to celebrate. People are interested in celebrating culture, highlighting African American life, then why not someone like me to become the middleman and help.”

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Once this idea started, Bailey decided it could be an arts-based organization that facilitates programs that engages, uplifts and highlights primarily, not exclusively, young African American talent. This will allow him to work with all types of organizations and businesses, and vice versa.

The show then became Dance Stomp Shake, Inc., an arts and education based charitable organization and nonprofit in August, with a small board of four people.

“I’m excited. But also I’m excited because I’m still a full-time professor... For me, I’m thinking how can I further my Wittenberg imprint into the southside of Springfield. That’s really what it’s about,” Bailey said. “It’s different than Wittenberg, but we’re associated because of our origin and every event is educational.”

Bailey hopes the impact of the nonprofit will “hit young people early” by highlighting their art, leadership capacity, and how to become the best of what they can be by using their talents.

“What’s important to me, especially when we talk about poverty or low social economic status, is to highlight the best of who they are even when they don’t have a lot... We want to say, ‘Yeah, you can sing, We want you to dream big, play your music.’ We want to highlight black excellence, but more so young people excellence,” he said.

Now that this is a nonprofit, it offers more access to funding to expand the range of programs. To start off, Dance Stomp Shake will host three upcoming events:

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A Southside Winter Wonderland will be held from 1:30 to 7 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 11, at the L, 1530 S. Yellow Springs St. This event is open to the public and there will be games, prizes, arts and crafts, pictures with Santa, Santa’s express (train ride) and more. Bailey would also like to line up Christmas trees with lights and decorations around the perimeter, then give them away to families in need. If interested in donating a new or gently used tree, contact Bailey at 217-454-0622 or dancestompshake@gmail.com.

“Simply Serving: A Shared Holiday Meal” will be held on Monday, Dec. 12, by invitation only to a few organizations that serve the community - Sheltered Inc., Oesterlen Youth Services and McKinnley Hall. Bailey wanted to help serve the people who serve and give them a day of mindfulness and self-care.

The Dance Stomp Shake show has evolved into a four-day event from Thursday, Feb. 16, to Sunday, Feb. 19. Thursday will include “art that binds” at the Springfield Museum of Art for middle schoolers to create artwork that will be on display. Friday will include a teen summit to connect them and give them a lasting community impact. Saturday will include a dance workshop by a professional team that is open to the public for a fee. Sunday will be the three-hour showcase and competition.

For more information, visit www.dancestompshake.org or on Facebook.

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