Spirit of Expression: One, Two, Step

by Angelo Castillo
Children and Youth Program Coordinator, 
Boys and Girls Clubs of Weston-Mount Dennis

FIVE…SIX… FIVE, SIX, SEVEN, EIGHT! Those are the lovely sounds you hear when you pass by the Youth room at 121 Humber Blvd on a Thursday evening. For the past couple of months, the Humber Youth have been practicing their dance routine for leisure, school and for their upcoming performance at The Spirit of Expression on Saturday February 3rd. 

The Spirit of Expression is an annual showcase where members from Boys and Girls Clubs across Toronto share their artistic talents. There are singers, dancers, visual artists, MC’s and DJ’s – and it’s a great time to meet people from other Boys and Girls Clubs in the city. This year’s theme is “Celebrating the Decades.”

Last year, the Humber Youth known as Young Girls With Ambition performed at The Spirit of Expression and this year they’re back with a new look and a new name. Damali Clarke, Shanniah Decaul, and LaShea Jackson return with Daquane Hazel as a new addition to the group. BEAST MODE, is their new dance crew name – reminiscent of the saying that gym goers like to use when they’re lifting weights.

“We’re definitely excited! Last year was such an amazing experience; even though we were nervous, the energy of the crowd and performing for one was incredible! That’s why we’re called BEAST MODE. We’re amped up!” said Shanniah.

The youth were definitely hesitant when they found out that they would be dancing to 60s music. “When Dominique and Angelo told us that we would be dancing to 60s music this year we were a little disappointed; not interested almost. Dancing and music allows us to express ourselves and being told what songs we should be dancing to was a turn-off, but they convinced us,” LaShea Jackson replied.

Convincing the youth was definitely not an easy task. But having that discussion regarding the history of dance and music; and how it influenced most, if not all the musicians today was great to have. “Motown, most especially, the Jackson 5 are my favourite from that era for sure! We watched some of their performances online and they were amazing,” said Damali Clarke. “We worked with Angelo and thought about what songs we liked. He showed us different songs by different artists and eventually we came up with a great idea,” said LaShea.

Beast Mode will be performing at The Spirit of Expression on February 3, 2018 at Bloor Collegiate. Watch them perform and witness their great idea!

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