An eye – opener

Performer at the Juvenile Detention Center

My name is Antonio and I am 16 years old. I am a lead youth performing artist at Saint Louis Story Stitchers. My most impactful experience with Story Stitchers was at the Juvenile Detention Center. This particular performance had an effect on me I will never forget. When we first arrived and began to set up, the atmosphere seemed bland. After a bit the performance began. The cafeteria was filled with young African American males. Just this view alone was an eye – opener for me. During the first few performances the audience posture was more on the slouchy, nonchalant side. However, when me and a couple of my other co – workers went up to perform we began to see a difference in the audience demeanor. As we were dancing and interacting with them they started to loosen up and became more comfortable. By the end of the performance the audience members were waving and clapping there hands to the music, showing more participation than ever before. I feel this transformation took place because the audience could connect with the youth rather than just a couple of adults that aren’t familiar with their struggle. In all I feel this performance was not only influential to me, but also the the rest of the youth that were there.