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‘A real gift’: Break Free hip hop school breaks barriers between people across metro

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OVERLAND PARK, Kan. -- One metro family says the art of break dancing has been a gift.

Break Free is a hip hop school in Overland Park where kids and adults have the opportunity to "break free" and come out of their shells.

Devin Jensen has been smiling at classes with James "SugEasy" Singleton for the last two years.

"They've helped with my confidence level and my focus," Devin said.

His brother, "Skittles," has kicked stage fright to the curb, too.

"Every mom wants to see their kid feel confident in themselves," mom Cameron Jensen said, "and I just saw that he was struggling with that, and he was just trying to find his place."

Devin was born with a cleft lip and cleft palate. Jensen said Singleton took Devin under his wing, teaching the 10-year-old how to drop, kick and spin.

It didn't take long before he was hooked on the moves.

"Helped him with his speech, his writing, his ability as a person," Singleton said, "and also happy to see that I can take dance and change a life's perspective."

Singleton does that for a lot of people across the metro. From break dance camps with the Down Syndrome Guild of Greater Kansas City to hip hop classes with FBI agents in Kansas City.

He received a letter from Special Agent Darrin Jones thanking him for discussing potential opportunities associated with taking down violence through dance, particularly involving young people.

"There's so many things that you can communicate and talk about and bring out of somebody without even using words," Singleton said.

He said dance is a universal language. Devin experienced that when he traveled to New York City, learning from professionals from all over the world.

"It opens up a lot more avenues culturally for your kids as well so that, you know, they're not in a bubble," Jensen said.

Jensen said breaking gives her sons the freedom to be themselves -- and enjoy it.

"Usually I'm timid and shy, but now I've just opened up through dance," Devin said.

If you want to learn more about Break Free or sign up for a class, visit their website.

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