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Hattiesburg Dance Studio provides a safe space for the community

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) – Dance teacher One Pine Belt uses his voice and the power of movement to motivate and strengthen the community.

EJ James is the owner of Xfinity Dance Studio, located in Hattiesburg. From ballet and jazz to tap, hip hop and contemporary, James teaches a variety of styles.

“By coming here, we indirectly allow them to express themselves,” James said. “They can express it with their movement.”

He started his business in 2010 to give children a voice and create a place where the community can learn, grow and progress as individuals.

Community leader and mentor, James said he had recently had a battle with his health. However, he refuses to let it stop him.

“In November 2021, I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, and I didn’t exhibit it until our showcase, which was in May,” James said. “As a mentor, we have to be strong, but right now we don’t always have to be strong. We can show that we are upset or hurt because we are human.

Despite his condition, James said he would continue to teach others the art of dancing. He said he wanted to be a support system for others.

“Our classes were supposed to start on August 8, but we’re actually going to start the week after Labor Day,” James said. “Simply because the children have just started school and we are preaching about education. So we want education to be the main part, and we just allow them to go to school and then have activities after that.

James said mentoring and helping others will help strengthen the community and keep everyone moving forward.

In the future, he wants to create a garden of serenity so that students and other members of the community can bury their worries and watch something beautiful grow.

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