Maryland trauma support group’s dance troupe advances on ‘America’s Got Talent’

It’s all yes’s for a local trauma support group that just competed on “America’s Got Talent: Ballet After Dark” — and it hopes that the recent performance on the show spreads the message of support.

“We’ve turned our trauma into triumph,” said Tyde-Courtney Edwards, who created the Baltimore-based dance therapy group to help sexual abuse and domestic violence survivors after trauma.

People from throughout Maryland participate in the organization’s programs, but with its recent national boost, it’s now expanding support throughout the country.

“We’re launching a new venture that is going to make our dance therapy resources available to community members far and wide,” Edwards said.

She told WTOP that she both was surprised and thrilled that they got an audition slot on “America’s Got Talent.”

“It was choreographed by me and my brother, he’s also a dancer. And we came together because the opportunity came very, very quickly,” she said.

The dance included the eight Ballet After Dark ensemble members performing a piece to Kesha’s song “Praying.”

They got “yes’s” from all the judges. They even got a special visit from judge Simon Cowell after their performance.

“He came backstage, he gave us hugs, he shook our hands. It was just incredible. It really was,” Edwards said.

Cowell’s comments on their piece?

“We meet the most incredible people on this show who luckily trust the show to share their message, which you’ve done today in a very, very, very powerful way,” Cowell said.

There’s no date for their next performance on the show yet, but she said to stay tuned.

“We have been committed to creating opportunities and experiences for our youth to be able to see where art can take them. And to be able to share with the world just, you know, how great they are,” Edwards said.

Their most-known programs are the Black Swan Dance Therapy cohort and the Aqua Ballet cohort. Both introduce youth and women to a variety of trauma-informed dance therapy practices, somatic interventions, self-defense workshops and survivor-centered social activities.

Their performance ensemble is a group of dancers, community members and survivors that use performance to heal.

Edwards herself said she’s a victim of sexual assault, and that ballet helped her heal.

“We are in the process of making sure that they understand what life is like outside of trauma,” Edwards said.

Valerie Bonk

Valerie Bonk started working at WTOP in 2016 and has lived in Howard County, Maryland, her entire life. She's thrilled to be a reporter for WTOP telling stories on air. She works as both a television and radio reporter in the Maryland and D.C. areas. 

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