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Published: Thursday, 1/6/2005

Toledo: Group puts kid talents on display

BY CLYDE HUGHES
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Dancers from House of Adonis weren't supposed to steal the show at the Stranahan Theater last month, but they made a name for themselves and the fledging Toledo central city non-profit they represent.

The dancers were one of the local groups that opened for BREAK! The Urban Funk Spectacular Dec. 18. They won a competition a week earlier for the right to take the stage.

Organizers said the talents displayed by the children are nothing new, but would like to get the world out about their gifts as they work to show them a better life.

Sherry Burden, a co-founder of the organization, said programs offered by the nonprofit are designed to help youth look for an alternative to violence and create positive outlets for them.

The House of Adonis is at 539 Knower St. in South Toledo. Its youth participate in cheerleading, dance and drill teams, modeling, community outreach and drug and gang violence prevention. The organization, which started in 1995, celebrates its 10th anniversary this year.

It has managed to survive and provide for the roughly 30 children in the program from small fund-raisers.

"I've never been an outgoing person, but the House of Adonis helped me open up," said Brittany Wimberly, 18, a student at Bowling Green State University. "It helped me to express myself and I've been able to develop many close friendships."

Teresa Sanchez, 14, a freshman at Start High School, said the organization has given her something positive to participate in and helped take away some of the temptations that teenagers usually face.

"It keeps me off the streets and doing something that I enjoy doing," Teresa said. "It's been a big focus. Instead of getting into drugs and drinking like a lot of teenagers, I'm into something positive."

Through choreographer Shawanda Johnson, the dancers were a hit at the December program.

Greg Justus, promotions director at WTWR-FM (98.3) in Monroe, helped promote the BREAK! production and said the dancers from the House of Adonis left numerous people impressed. The dancers won first place in a local competition to open the program before the main attraction.

"I didn't attend the show, but I was told by a few people that they thought the Toledo dancers were better than [the professional production]," Mr. Justus said. "I don't know what that says for the show, but I know we had some pretty good dancers out there."

Contact Clyde Hughes at:

chughes@theblade.com

or 419-724-6095.



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