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Missoula Dance Studio Performance Addresses Cyberbullying

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MISSOULA -

A Missoula dance studio is addressing the positive and negative impacts social media has on today's youth. The director at "On Center Performing Arts" decided to make this the theme of its annual performance, after numerous dancers at the studio became victims of cyberbullying.

With social media having such an impact on her students, On Center Performing Arts owner, Lisa Deer, decided to address the issue in the studio's annual performance "To Missoula, With Love."

"As an educator, I've really noticed a difference in children, everything from the way they communicate with each other, the way they spend their time in lobby," Deer said.

The show will look at the evolution of social media, how a person can be affected by instant fame, along with the positives of social media, and some serious negatives, like cyberbullying.

"They become very insensitive, because they don't have to see the reaction of the kid on the other side," Deer said.

Deer said lately it's not unusual for one of her students to come in crying, because they're being picked on through Facebook, Snap Chat, and other social media sites.

"It went from the point where I thought he was joking around, to where I was crying myself to sleep at night," said On Center dancer, 11-year-old Jaiden Feist.

Feist was the victim of cyberbullying through text messages after she had an argument with a boy at school.

"He got mad, and started texting me disturbing names no one wanted to be called," Feist said.

Another student, 14-year-old Lili Hardy was the victim of a degrading Facebook status, posted by a boy at her school. He sent mean messages on Facebook, then posted a status, and a ton of people liked it and said mean, degrading things," Hardy said.

After this experience Hardy choreographed a piece for the upcoming performance based on cyberbullying.

"Because I've been affected by cyberbullying, I just thought this was the perfect way to show how it can really affect people," Hardy said.

Dancers hope they bring light to the negative and positive changes social media has brought to our generation, and raise awareness of cyberbullying, showing victims they're not alone.

"It makes me feel better, because I know we actually get to spread the word," Feist said.

The performance is being held this Friday and Saturday at the MCT Center for the Performing Arts. For show times and ticket information, head to On Center Performing Arts.

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