DALLAS - Dozens of South Dallas children have put in long hours and suffered sore muscles for a performance they will likely never forget.

The kids are head-over-heels about dance.

It's hard work, said Dar'ren Agers. You have to work really hard to get the training,

In response to widespread funding cuts, eight South Dallas summer program providers united to offer the Amazing Grace Summer Dance Program to students. The program uses dance to teach children lessons about the Civil Rights Movement.

When you learn it from a textbook, you're reading it and have to understand it, said Erykah Agers, 13. But, when you're dancing, it's like reliving it and it sticks to your mind because you feel like you were there because you understand because you danced it.

The dancers are rehearsing for six weeks with Vann Gilbert of the Mahogany Dance Theatre in preparation for their live stage debut at the Music Hall at Fair Park in August.

It's affecting families, mothers and father's saying, 'My baby is going to the Music Hall,' Gilbert said. So they're excited about that. They want to bring forth the level of excellence from what they've seen from Broadway shows and they're working for that.

About 100 South Dallas students are working in the program. They range from third grade students up to high school. The big performance is set for August 6 at the Music Hall at Fair Park. Tickets go on sale in July and can be purchased at


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