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A Young Dancer’s Legacy Lives On With ‘One Last Dance’

Kianna Thomas was going to be a dancer.


She passionately pursued her dreams to dance and become a choreographer, was the captain of Meade Senior High School’s dance team in Fort Meade, Maryland and composed routines for the troupe. She danced throughout high school, even when no one was there to watch her, and inspired her school mate and close friend, Brittani Brown, to understand what true passion was.

On the night of March 5, 2011, Kianna was killed when a driver ran a stop sign and hit the car she was travelling in. She was only a year out of high school, but she was too young and zealous to leave the earth just yet. “‘One Last Dance”’ is just one of Kianna’s footprints walking the planet inspiring others the way Kianna directly inspired so many.

“One Last Dance” was born when rising senior kinesiology student Brittani Brown was encouraged by Kianna’s spirit to enlighten others the way the young talented dancer had enlightened her.

“Dance was her life,” Brittani says of Kianna, whom she described as goofy, fun and a joy to be around. “Just the passion that she had spoke volumes to her desire to dance and I loved it and it inspired me to think about what I’m passionate about and put that energy into everything that I do.”

The proceeds from this dance competition go to the winning student organization and into a fund for the Kianna Thomas Scholarship at Meade Senior High School, which Brittani created.

The scholarship is geared toward high school students seeking to pursue some form of the arts in college. So far Brittani has given away a total of $1,250 in three years to three students from Meade and one student organization at Temple—the Organization of African Students—whose dance team won last year’s competition. The three high school recipients were each minoring in an arts-related field.

Poetry in motion is the theme for this year’s event. “I thought the music, the dance and poetry all go together,” says Brittani of this year’s motif, Dance as Silent Poetry. “A lot of movements in dance kind of have its own story.”

Brittani hopes that this year’s story is a successful one. Ladies of Elegance, the Students for Caribbean Awareness Dance Team, Dare2Dance and reigning champs Dynamic Afrique will be competing this year.

“We have a nice little end to the night,” Brittani says. “A nice twist. And there will be a lot of guest speakers. It should be a really good night.”

Tickets for ‘One Last Dance: Dance as Silent Poetry’ are $7 in advance, $10 at the door and are on sale all week. Contact Brittani Brown for tickets at brittani.brown@temple.edu. The event will be held Friday, April 25 in the Student Center rooms 200BC.

Layla is a senior magazine journalism student with a passion for politics, cultural events and of course, shopping, with aspirations of working as an on staff writer at a major magazine in NYC.Believe it or not, Layla enjoys working out (if you know her, you'd probably say not) but can't seem to find time for it this semester with her semi-hectic schedule (no excuse, she knows). She also loves shopping, getting out of the city, hanging out with friends, playing instruments and singing, and dancing even though she sucks at it!Follow her on twitter @laylajayla, on Instagram @baelay and on her blog at loafersnlipstick.tumblr.com!
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