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Barrio Stories 2021: Channing

by Natalia Ortiz-Amaro, Barrio Alegria

Barrio Stories 2021: Channing

Channing DuRant played Wolf 1 in Rosa Dances with Wolves and Chef in …But We’re Still Here! as well as danced in countless Barrio presentations. Channing is one of the original seeds of Barrio, a keystone that holds our Storytelling Through Dance program together.

Five years ago, when he came to the first rehearsal he began to help map out what would then become “Odyssey”, the story of an immigrant man, and his journey to call Reading his home. It was a chalkboard, a table, the Director, Channing and one more participant. Back then, the dream was to engage enough people to participate.

Many things have happened since then, and we are happy to share Channing’s story as told by Channing himself!

Channing is very special to Barrio Alegria, just like everyone else that’s part of the family. He had no idea what STTD was going to bring to his life, yet here we are- 6 years later! It’s always a good time when he’s around. Channing always makes everyone feel comfortable and makes them feel like they can be their true self with him. We would not be the same without Channing or any other of the participants. All participants have heard and joined STTD in one way or another, but they all share one thing in common and that is the desire to keep building a community that is worthy of being called family.

During my interview, he told me how nervous he was when he first started at Barrio and if you look at him now in rehearsal, it’s hard to believe he was ever nervous for the program. Channing mentioned something so important during our conversation that made me understand that the work and investment we put in the program of Storytelling Through Dance is impacting the participants’ lives. Channing said “thanks to Barrio I get to do what I love, my passion, which is dancing”. He also shared with me how great and grateful he is that he is surrounded by friends and family while doing what he does best.

Channing is someone who is so vocal about social issues, no wonder STTD fits for him so well. We need more people like Channing in Barrio Alegria and in our community because he is the type of person that wants a better society, a better world. Channing is able to build a safer and better Reading by his kind actions, by being a good friend, by dancing and doing motions with his body, and by being his authentic self.

Listen to the full interview here. Mark your calenders for …But We’re Still Here, August 7 @4pm at Reading Public Library. Learn more here.