Dance like no one's watching: Special group uses song and dance to say thank you

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PANAMA CITY, Fl. (WJHG/WECP) - A local freelance choreographer, Tara Dent, has rounded up her clients from the St. Andrew Bay Center, the Margaret K. Lewis School, and Second Chance Of Northwest Florida in efforts to create a music video DVD as a way to say thank you to caregivers for all they do.

"They know that they are stars and that they are really really bright and energetic. this is a lot of fun for them," Dent said.

"Beam" is a group Dent started. Its purpose is to help people by using music and movement to help release stress and tension by giving them confidence and making them feel brighter, mentally and physically.

Dent, who's danced her way into the hearts of hundreds, is giving her clients with disabilities, their teachers, and other staff members an opportunity to participate.

"The DVD aims to help caregivers relieve stress and tension and give them energy," said Dent. "It's also a way for those who are cared for to say thank you to those who care for them."

Those participating are more than happy to do so.

"Today we had 120 percent of participation, so I think the numbers speak for themselves." Executive Director of Second Chance of Northwest Florida John Copp said.

Members of Second Chance suffer from brain injuries. Regardless, they said they're happy to recognize their support system because without them, there wouldn't be a take two in life.

"My great wife took care of me," Dan Francis, a Second Chance member, said. "She's a nurse, and she quit her job just to take care of me."

"Ya'll helped us, that was very good," James Smith, another member, said.

Copp said not only is the DVD beneficial for caregivers to give them extra motivation, but it's therapeutic for his members.

"When you put music to it, the memory kicks in," said Copp. "So putting all these things together allows them to stretch their memory."

Dent said the 12-track DVD produced by Sky Pro Imaging will have songs everyone can relate to.

Kimberly Griffin, a member of Second Chance, said "Stand By Me" was her favorite song to sing and dance to.

"I've had some people who stand by me and who have been with me through everything for the last three years," said Griffin.

Randall Venette, who was run over by a car, said he'll never say no to a chance to dance, especially for those who've helped him.

"I was in an accident and they said I'd never be able to do anything," said Venette. "But the more I can do, the happier I am and I want to help others now."

The project has been funded with support of the Charles A. Whitehead Foundation and the Marion G. and Barbara W. Nelson Foundation.

Copies of the DVD will be free to anyone who would like one.

The last day of filming will be Friday at St. Andrews Bay Center.