COLORADO SPRINGS — Ormao Dance Company and TESSA are partnering to address an urgent crisis for middle and high school youth in El Paso County.

The Hands are for Holding Program combines our youth’s social and emotional well-being with a constructive and preventive approach.

Hands are for Holding is an in-school dance assembly, developed to start a conversation with young people around healthy and unhealthy relationships.

This program offers four dances with a TESSA facilitator engaging conversation and providing relevant learning in between each dance. The four dances are:

  • Connections: Dancers address the issue of technological bullying with movement, music, and dubbed text messages that increasingly interrupt the dancing.
  • Isolations: Dancers embody physical bullying and show how one person can make a difference by supporting the victim. 
  • Boundaries & Consent: Dancers’ movement reflects how you can set boundaries, change boundaries, and also how to gain consent for boundaries as well as learn to respect other’s boundaries. 
  • Side by Side: Two duets occur simultaneously, one duet reflects an unhealthy, manipulative relationship while the other duet shows a healthy, supportive relationship.

“Students really love the performance aspect, and they really were engaged in the conversation the dialogue back and forth to be able to share a little bit about themselves but then also get a broader understanding of ways they can be supported,” said Erika Zulkosky Administrator for Pheonix Academy.

The program also includes interactive opportunities for students:

  • Gestures: Everyone learns six gestures representing patience, respect, support, equity, negotiation, and trust to help remember these aspects of a healthy relationship. 
  • Back to Back: Selected students come forward to work with the dancers and, while in pairs, learn to rise from a seated position as a physical example of how a healthy relationship can look and feel.

Ormao Dance Company and TESSA are ready to launch this essential program in the community, with El Paso County being the FIRST community outside of NYC to implement this program.

For more information and inquiries please visit Ormao Dance Company’s website.