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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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‘Hope and healing through dance’

Here+to+Listen+is+a+performance+dedicated+to+people+battling+cancer.
Photo by PROVIDED

“Here to Listen” is a performance dedicated to people battling cancer.

“Here to Listen” is a dance performance dedicated to sharing stories of lives affected by cancer.

A partnership between Here for the Girls, Mei/Co. Dance and Texas A&M’s Aggie Sweethearts, the free show will be held on Saturday at 7 p.m. in Rudder Theatre. 

Here for the Girls Texas support group facilitator Christy Birgen said the event is a gift to all cancer survivors, as well as their family and friends. Birgen said H4TG’s main purpose is to improve the lives of women under the age of 51 who have been affected by breast cancer through two support programs.

“The first is Beyond Boobs, which is our in-person, community based support group,” Birgen said. “The other is through our nationwide 24/7 online support called Pink Link. H4TG creates and serves as an extended family of young survivors who help one another through diagnosis, treatment and beyond.”

Birgen said the community can expect a night of powerful emotions that provides hope and healing through the art of dance. 

“There will be five stories told about young survivors who have battled breast cancer,” Birgen said. “Four of those women are local and have been part of the College Station H4TG support group. Another story is of a young girl who died due to cancer. Another is a story of a wife who passed away from brain cancer, as told by her husband.”

Birgen said she hopes people come together to listen to one another and experience the healing that takes place when stories are shared. 

“In a world where there is much tension because of differences, we want to use the inspiration of others’ stories to provide light in a dark world,” Birgen said. “We hope to remind our community that ‘you are never alone.’ This is what H4TG and Mei/Co. believe in and stand for.”    

Meggie Pinones Belisle is the artistic director for Mei/Co. Dance 

and the co-producer for “Here to Listen.” Belisle said she always wanted to open a dance company, and eventually did in 2015 after her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer.  

“A part of our mission statement is to bring hope and healing through dance,” Belisle said. “Our tagline phrase is ‘we come to listen, we promise to honor, we hope to heal, and we offer ourselves simply as storytellers.’”  

According to Belisle, one in eight women in America are diagnosed with breast cancer. She said it can be discouraging for people who have fought the disease to be grouped together under the label of “cancer survivors” because each has lived through that period differently.  

“It is not just about something pretty,” Belisle said. “It is about something impactful. We want to make art beautiful and shine light through art. Every story is different and each story will speak to people in the way that they need it to.”    

Aggie Sweethearts is a women’s service organization that promotes sisterhood, spirit, service and philanthropy at A&M. Aggie Sweethearts president and public health senior Diane Arriaga said they wanted to participate in this event because they believe in the power of community and the missions of the other groups involved.

“I hope people realize the power of the Aggie community and how we are ‘Here to Listen,’” Arriaga said. “They will be allowed to witness survivors’ stories and help support young breast cancer survivors in the Bryan-College Station area.”

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  • Mei/Co. Dance will perform “Here to Listen” in Redder Theatre on Saturday.

    Photo by PROVIDED
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