LA nonprofit Baila Conmigo teaches dance to kids in underresourced communities

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Thursday, June 29, 2023
SoCal nonprofit Baila Conmigo brings fun, fitness to kids via dance
Baila Conmigo's mission is to bring the fun and discipline of dance into elementary schools.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Dancing is not only great exercise, but a great way to bring people together. That's precisely what Baila Conmigo is about.

Its mission is to serve under-resourced students by teaching them jazz, hip-hop, contemporary dance and even hula.

Baila Conmigo started as an organization that provided virtual dance classes for mental health patients. Baila Conmigo's team is unlike any other, consisting of an all-teenage staff with members ranging from 14 to 19 years old.

Makyla Cervantes is the group's founder and CEO.

"I realized that it would be a really unique and exciting experience for students to experience," said Makyla. "So I worked with Vaughn here in creating the Summer Program, which they had. And so I worked with my dance team members and brought them in as instructors."

"I just have a deep passion for dance - to realize that kids aren't able to experience it and try it and get to exert their emotions in a certain form of artistic creativity, and it really hit me. So that's why I started Baila Conmigo."

Maya Cervantes is the chief operating officer.

"We have jazz, hip hop and jazz funk. And we have instructors from dance teams coming in to work a part of our team," said Maya. "We're just so proud of the growth that we've seen the past couple of years. Our team has grown so much the people that we've impacted has grown so much as well."

Katia Handal, director of Vaughn Charter Schools, says students are very happy when they participate in Baila Conmigo.

"This is the first year that we were able to get this type of program for our students," said Handal.

"I've never seen these kids as happy as I see them now and they don't want to go home."

"This is the opportunity to offer dance classes - which are normally very expensive" said Natly Benitez, program coordinator. "And so for our community, it's necessary. Partnering with Baila Conmigo allowed us to be able to offer that to many students."

As for the future, the sky is the limit.

"We definitely want to continue helping kids in Los Angeles, in communities where kids need to have these opportunities but are receiving it so we definitely plan on going to different campuses in the future," said Makyla.