Dancers take aim at Cincinnati with an eye on youth

At one Cincinnat non-profit, leaders enthusiastically embrace better living through dance.

Arts Innovation Movement, or aim:cincinnati is a Kennedy Heights dance company tgat took its first leap in 1997. In the years since, aim: Cincinnati has been educating and inspiring people form all walks of life through the diversity of dance.

Aim:Cincinnati engages the community through dance productions -- from ballet to hip hop -- at local theatres, libraries and even a series of performances hosted at the Aronoff Center for the arts. The organization also sponsors a hip hop dance troupe called Kompany Krucial that regularly tours the nation and has also performed on BET Television.

"The idea is to get youth engaged in dance to help keep them off the streets," says Marvel Gentry Davis, producing artistic director. "Keep them healthy, moving and doing something positive."

For more traditional dance enthusiasts, aim:Cincinnati hosted its 10th Anniversary Gala of International Dance Stars this month at the Aronoff Center. Dancers from 12 different dance companies from cities around the world, including New York City, Boston and Spain, performed.

"It's a fabulous show and the audience raves about it," Davis says. "Right there you get an opportunity to travel the world."

In additional to producing dance performances, aim:Cincinnati also takes dance to the community through outreach dance classes at local schools and at their headquarters in Kennedy Heights. They've even coordinated dance classes for children in the psychiatric ward of Cincinnati Children's Hospital.

"We're doing innovative things that are not your mother's ballet," Davis says. "Dance is one of the fine arts but I think that what we're doing makes it more attractive to a much larger audience."

Do Good:

Go shopping. You'll find dancer-friendly note cards, elegant calendars along with jazz CDs at aim:Cincinnati's online store.

Be a PayPal. Make an online donation to support operating costs or to attend performances.

• Volunteer.  Opportunities range from marketing, graphic design and web support to dance.

By Ryan McLendon

Image courtesy aim:Cincinnati

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