MusEffect: Inspiring Cyberbullying Prevention Through Dance in 2015

Over the last year, we’ve been in touch with Los Angeles-based non-profit dance company MusEffect after seeing their passion to use their talents towards cyberbullying prevention. Their Public Service Announcement, 953K – Inspiring Action Against Cyberbullying, generated over 1.2 million views and inspirational stories of healing and resolution from audiences across the globe. We particularly loved the compelling spoken word poetry and hard-hitting choreography, and believe it leaves a strong impression on everyone who sees it. This year, MusEffect wanted to revisit the issue but do so in a new light. Their hope is to do much more than present the reality of cyberbullying to audiences, but instead provide strategies and solutions to make headway in dealing with the issue. Creative Jessica Starr puts it this way: “it is clear now more than ever that the resolution begins with empowering the generation that it effects the most today.” We couldn’t agree more. You can hear her heartbeat in her words as she discusses what motivates MusEffect.

MusEffect wanted to take proactive approach to cyberbullying by encouraging Generation Z to initiate change themselves. To create #NoHaters, their latest PSA, our dance company took young artists from their summer training program, The Mini Muse Experience, out to the Santa Monica Pier to interview civilians. Their sincere desire to understand the cause of cyberbullying produced revolutionary answers from the adults. These powerful interviews paired with uplifting and positive hip hop choreography make up this PSA, #NoHaters, celebrating a proactive approach to cyberbullying.

After seeing the outpouring of stories that our PSA provoked last year, I knew it was a subject that needed further exploration in our society. Typically our method with our MusEffect PSAs is simply to raise awareness, but I knew this social issue needed further exploring. There is no simple solution for a tragic trend like cyberbullying, but we want to try to stay in front of the problem and stop it before it starts. Being around so many incredible young dancers day in and day out who are going to be the leaders of the next generation, I knew I wanted to empower them to make a profound difference in this area. My ultimate goal is to give these young artists the tools and confidence to lead their Z generation to make positivity, kindness, and encouragement so much cooler than being sarcastic, cruel, or even simply ambivalent to the lives and well-being of others. Our 2015 Mini Musers were honestly some of the most intelligent and compassionate young dancers I have ever had the honor or working with. Their genuine desire to do their part to change the world was nothing short of inspiring.

The day of our shoot was nerve racking because I genuinely did not know how the community on the Santa Monica pier would respond to our young dancers asking them questions about their experiences with cyberbullying. I was brought near to tears however when I saw the willingness to discuss, dissect and brainstorm solutions with these passionate dancers years younger than them. It was ey- opening to say the least, and a great experience for these leaders to see the influence they can have on generations far older than them. MusEffect is not just about raising awareness about a social problem, but activating leaders and translating inspiration into action.

Here are the perspectives of some of the dancers, in their own words:

The recent movement #NoHaters started by MusEffect is a universal message. It encourages supportive and positive use of social media while inspiring others to become accountable to themselves and the people around them. #NoHaters also promotes self love, positive self talk, and by default, a confident community! Our generation is more exposed than any other generation to information through pictures, music, and words. The information is instantaneous and lasts forever. Keeping in mind the #NoHaters message, while living our lives steers us in the right path to create awareness and encourage real discussion that acts like a pebble thrown in the lake. My words affect, your words, which affects their words, and ultimately affects all of our words. Keeping it positive is the way to go! ~ Bailey Spangler, 14 years old, Peoria, AZ

#nohaters is important to this generation because it helps people, like me, who have struggled with bullying. I used to get bullied most of the time for liking dance. I would cry every day because of all the hurtful things that kids at school would say about me. Whether it was to my face or on the social media. I just recently started loving who I am and embracing me for me. This PSA can help kids in this generation to love themselves for who they are flaws and all. Accepting who you are, loving what you love to do is all it takes to make you happy. #nohaters ~ Eric Klich, 17 years old, Surprise, AZ

In our generation, social media is the primary way of communication and socializing. There are pros and cons when it comes to social media. A major con being, cyber bullying, is a harsh reality amongst many teens. Fortunately, there are programs like #NoHaters that raise awareness to the public about this silent form of bullying. I’m proud to be a part of this organization that inspires the public to show kindness towards others. Always remember… #NoHaters! ~ Brinley Harris, 15 years old, Gilbert, AZ

MusEffect remains fiercely committed to not only raising social awareness about such issues like cyberbullying, but believes it is essential to take a hands-on approach to initiating change. Speaking about it is often not enough; action makes all the difference.

Take the time to check out their #nohaters PSA.  In addition, MusEffect and the Mini Musers have also teamed up with clothing link Sadie Jane for the month of October to promote Workout Wednesdays. Here is a short YouTube episode that airs weekly promoting the importance of confidence and strength on the inside, as well as the out.

For more information on how MusEffect is inspiring action against cyberbullying, feel free to reach out to Jessica, and do all you can to support the incredible work her and her dance company are doing!

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