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Dancer reach out to community

By Maya Gayler

Reposted from Texas Rambler

Texas Jam Health Fair vendor

Irving—North Texas' 410 Line Dancers hosted its annual Texas Jam Health Fair at the Sheraton DFW Airport Hotel as part of its 10th-anniversary soul line dancing event.

Isha Hutchison, owner of the 410 Line Dancers, says the fair brings healthcare services to the community in an accessible and engaging way.

"We want to be a part of the solution versus a part of the problem," Hutchison said. "We don't want to complain about the problem and think it's important to have community."

He emphasized that the event was free and included educational Q&A sessions, health vendors, and giveaways.

After being excluded from similar dance clubs, Hutchison decided to create an all-inclusive group. The group's intention was to provide a space to unwind from stress and build a close-knit community where everyone was embraced, accepted, and uplifted.

Dallas-based neurologist Dr. Sharisse Stephenson, a 410 member, organized the health fair with the African American community in mind.

"I'm committed to reaching communities that might not necessarily get access to care or might not know about the different diagnosis and treatment options, especially in the African American community," Stephenson said.

"I thought, let's bring health to the soul line dancing, have something fun, attract people, and get people to learn and get their health checked."

Dr. Bashir Easter was eager to meet Stephenson to connect with her about the work his organization, Melanin Minded LLC, does in Alzheimer's and dementia.

"I'm trying to do this collaboration so people know more about these resources and how I can be connected to make that happen," Easter said.

The Texas Jam Health Fair offered information booths, several panels with experts, senior citizen dancing, raffles, youth dance performances, and free line dancing lessons.

The fair originated in 2019 as a one-time celebration of 410 Line Dancers' 5th annual Customer Appreciation & Awards event, showcasing Texas-style soul line dancing. It has since evolved into a biennial conference and festival.

The Texas Jam soul line dancing conference invites the global soul line dancing community to the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex every two years.

Line dancer Dorothy Richardson joined the group to stay active and get out of the house during retirement.

"I was interested in recommendations and solutions for senior care," Richardson said. "I've enjoyed it. I think they addressed a lot of people's issues."

Grand Prairie resident Ada French learned about more healthcare options.

"The neighborhood needs it; this is one of the things that we all benefit from," French said.

Stephenson's daughter, Sidney Pouncy, 18, learned about health and organized the face painting booth.

"It's better to learn together, especially with Juneteenth coming up," Pouncy said. "I feel like it's important not just for the Black community to stay educated but everyone else too."

410 Line Dancers classes are held twice a week, on Sundays at the Milaana Dance in Plano and on Thursdays at the Harmony School of Innovation in Carrollton.

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