April 30, 2019 4:25 pm
Updated: April 30, 2019 5:05 pm

Calgary hip hop dancers fight bullying: ‘You shouldn’t let them put you down’

WATCH: Doing a fund-raising show is a big part of giving back for a lot of performers. When some young Calgarians hit the stage to help others this week, they'll be lending a hand in a struggle that hits pretty close to home. Gil Tucker has the story.

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Hitting the floor to work on their hip hop moves has given a big boost to some young Calgary dancers. Now, they’re putting their talents to great use to help others.

Members of Pulse Studios are stepping up to perform at Strut 2019, a fundraising event for the anti-bullying organization Dare to Care.

It’s a cause that hits close to home for dancer Lawrence Atutubo.

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“For me in elementary (school), I had a really hard time fitting in.

“They would bully me. It was like, ‘You can’t do this, you can’t do that, you look bad when you do that.’ That was the worst struggle for me.”

READ MORE: Young Calgary hockey crowd hears powerful anti-bullying messages

It’s a familiar scenario for the Calgary woman who started Dare to Care in 1999, after spending years as a school counsellor.

“Everybody does have a story of bullying,” Lisa Dixon-Wells said. “It may not be that you were bullied, it may not be that you were the bully, but you witnessed it.”

Dixon-Wells’ organization now runs anti-bullying sessions in schools across Canada, with money to be raised at Strut 2019 going to support those programs.

“The hidden culture of aggression among girls and women — it’s some of the worst forms of bullying,” Dixon-Wells said.

“And that certainly is on the rise. And then obviously, the cyber-bullying (is rising as well).”

READ MORE: Alberta teenage girl heads into battle at breakdancing competition in Japan: ‘I’m there to dance my heart out!’

Getting involved in hip hop dancing made a huge difference for Atutubo.

“The feeling of expression you get… I get that confidence to push me and get me out there.”

Dancing has also helped Ryan Everett with his struggles growing up.

“If I didn’t have this, I wouldn’t have the courage I have now to speak my opinions, speak my voice.”

READ MORE: Kickboxing helps build anti-bullying skills for Calgary teen: ‘We don’t have to be scared’

The dancers from Pulse Studios help others by giving free dance classes in schools, sharing what they’ve learned.

“If you’re being bullied, you shouldn’t let them put you down,” Everett said. “Be yourself, don’t be afraid to do what you believe in. And tell people, ‘Hey, I’m not going to listen to you.'”

The dance team from Pulse will perform as part of Strut 2019 at the Calgary Petroleum Club on Saturday, May 4.

The dancers are glad to have the chance to help others overcome bullying.

“No matter what you say, you’re not in my shoes,” Everett said, “Whatever you want to do, whoever you want to be, you can.”

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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