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GREENSBORO, N.C. — Alexandra Joye Warren listened to what girls were saying.

“They were just feeling like they didn’t have a place to go,” she said.

Warren says many of the girls expressed not having a safe place to express their artistic and creative interests after school.

“We realized that girls, especially girls of color were being left behind,” she said

Warren is the founding artistic director for Joyemovement Dance – a contemporary dance company based in Greensboro.

2016 was its first year offering a program called Uplift Girls, an empowerment group for pre-teen and teenage girls.

“We just really want them to have the safe space to be able to process and respond to what’s going on in the world around them,” Warren said.

“It helped me out a lot with my social skills, [it] just helped me open up a little bit more to people I don’t normally talk to or dance with,” 2016 participant Ayanna Whitaker said.

This year, The City of Greensboro is partnering with Joyemovement Dance to offer Uplift Girls.

The city’s support will allow more girls to participate and it will also expand the length of the program which was previously five weeks.

“We’re starting out with a 17-week workshop series, which is a lot more,” Warren said.

“It’s not going to be just dance focused now. It’s also going to include self-care, entrepreneurship, movement and also global citizenship. We’ll be bringing in people from the community, local business owners, and they’ll be just experiencing a lot more to be able to help them to develop their inner strength.”

Uplift Girls begins Aug. 7 for girls ages 9-18.

The group will meet Mondays from 6:30 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. at the Caldcleugh Multicultural Arts Center at 1700 Orchard St.

Registration is online.

There is a one-time fee of $25, but scholarships are available as needed.