UNIVERSITY AREA — Those who know Demario Henry describe him as a guy with a heap of talent and a huge heart for helping people in need.
His flair for dancing was discovered at age 11 at a local church that offered free lessons, and in the years since he’s passed his love and forte for the art form forward in a variety of ways.
The Blake High School graduate who’s performed at Busch Gardens and in several states across the country as well as in countries throughout the world, was also a hip-hop dance instructor at the Patel Conservatory in Tampa.
It was there he foresaw a need to open a dance studio strictly for adults, a vision that came to fruition in Ybor City seven years ago under the name of the VYB (Voice Your Body) Dance.
Drawing on dancers from VYB studio and Blake High’s Sting performers, Henry presented his first Heart 2 Heart Charity Showcase on Feb. 18 at the University Area Community Center, a multipurpose complex that serves low-income residents living north of the University of South Florida.
“I’m glad we’re here and able to help out,” said Blake 10th-grader Krysha Calewell, who described Sting’s dance performance as a combination of hip hop and jazz.
The event — complete with a cocktail hour, music by the Torrey Thomas Band, and a dessert bar with champagne — attracted close to 100 attendees and brought in nearly $1,000.
Proceeds will benefit the University Area Community Development Corp.’s Prodigy program that offers art, music and dance classes for kids and is billed as one that’s “Transforming Young Lives.”
Henry hopes to make Heart 2 Heart Charity Showcase an annual affair at the center.
“I love Prodigy,” he said. “It gives kids a purpose they can build on.”
The New Tampa Players have three upcoming plays on tap at the center and will designate the proceeds from one performance of each show to the UACDC.
In addition, the DeArmon Creative Arts School and Theater plans to present two shows this year on the center’s stage.
Go to www.uacdc.org or call (813) 558-5212 for performance details.