Sharing the Stage

Jerome Jean-Gilles, co-owner, and director of City Dance Corps Foundation in Toronto in a choreography session. He’s prepping for a dance class he offers free of charge for people who don’t have the money to pay for it.

Funding Futures

Financial hardships can negatively impact self-esteem. The subsequent limitations can lead to disruptive paths. According to the Annual Ontario School Survey by the People for Education, during the 2022-2023 school year, high-income areas were more likely to offer extracurricular clubs and activities. They say schools located in low-income areas tend to lack extracurricular activities. Further studies indicate that participation in extracurricular activities leads to better mental health outcomes in children and youth.

That’s the motivation behind the City Dance Corps Foundation. They cover the costs of dance lessons for people without the means to pay for it themselves. Jerome Jean-Gilles is the co-owner and director of the dance studio in Toronto. He says the company seeks to empower marginalized people of all ages through dance. For example, they provide one year of free dance classes for people from underserved communities. In doing so, they believe they are leading people away from disruptive paths and providing the skills to forge bright futures.

Jean-Gilles says dance is a mode of expression that alleviates distress from trauma and mental health issues. He believes dances like the tango can improve cognitive abilities for people with Alzheimer’s. He aims to foster the positive impact of dance on cognitive and physical functioning. Jean-Gilles says he’s seen firsthand how dance improves coordination between the mind and body.

Rhythmic Rise

Jerome Jean-Gilles was born and raised in Montreal. His journey into the world of dance began at a young age. Jean-Gilles says from his earliest memories, he was drawn to rhythm and movement, which would later become his life's passion. He believes dance is an opportunity to express your deepest emotions. With dance, one expresses themselves, not with their words, but with their movements in a universal language that took him around the world to study and perform.

After relocating to Toronto in 1996, Jean-Gilles immersed himself in the vibrant dance scene, focusing particularly on Latin dances. His dedication and talent caught the attention of mentors, which led him to study dance both locally and abroad. Dance took him to countries like Spain, Japan, Cuba, and south of the border where he deepened his understanding of the art form.

Now, his focus has shifted to giving back to his community in Toronto. He believes by understanding our history, people can create a more informed future for dance. For him, the most rewarding aspect of his work is witnessing the transformation that occurs when young people are given the chance to pursue their passion. Through dance, they not only gain valuable skills but also build confidence, discipline, and a sense of belonging.

Jean-Gilles continues to inspire and uplift his community through the power of dance. His story serves as a reminder of the profound impact that one person can have when driven by compassion and a desire for positive change. Jean-Gilles shows what good leadership does for a community.

Funding extracurricular activities?

Meet the Team

Brandon Budhram

School: Seneca Polytechnic
Producer: Funding Futures

Tharsha Ravichakaravarthy

School: Seneca Polytechnic
Producer: Funding Futures

Prachi Patel

School: Seneca Polytechnic
Producer: Rhythmic Rise

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