Young performers are bringing a tough topic to the forefront through an emotional dance piece.
The Legacy Elite Teen Team, which is a part of Eagle Rock Dance, has been perfecting a number focused on the subject of underage drinking. The teen team is made up of advanced level dancers between the ages of 11 and 14.
"One way that we chose to stand out was not only to be a great studio but to try to incorporate our core values and life lessons for dancers along the way," Director Carrie McCarty said. "This year we decided that we wanted to take one of our routines and add an extra message so it wasn't just another dance."
McCarty says this is the first time the team is performing a dance focused on a moral issue. She said they had a few topics to choose from as they were thinking of problems affecting teens today.
"We actually had to put the message out to the parents right away that even though it is a touchy subject, it's one that needs to be shared and that the final storyline ends on a very positive, uplifting note," McCarty said.
The dance is set to a vocal cover of "Girls Just Want to Have Fun." It portrays teenage girls on prom night, after their dates have left, getting ready to have fun. The lead dancer has a brown paper bag implied to have alcohol in it. Throughout the dance, she works to persuade her friends to drink. In the end, one friend chooses not to give in to peer pressure.
Maddy Martin, 14, plays the friend who refuses the alcohol.
"I felt that I really had to portray the character," Maddy said. "I had to make sure that no matter what, I was the one that was not going to do what all of my friends were."
She and other dancers her age have seen firsthand the effects of underage drinking among their peers.
"I do think it's a problem here and people don't talk about it," Maddy said.
McCarty said after the dance was performed for the first time at a Skyline High School basketball game, one person complained on Facebook saying the dance was inappropriate.
"I can understand that it's disturbing to see this type of dance portrayed, but really that's what happening behind some closed doors," McCarty said. "Our goal is to just get it out there and help these teens feel comfortable talking about it so that they're stronger when they're faced with these situations."