Exit 12 Dance Company in New York helps veterans heal, find their voice through movement

Janice Yu Image
Friday, May 24, 2024
Non-profit dance company helps veterans find voice through movement
Janice Yu has the story,

HELL'S KITCHEN, Manhattan (WABC) -- A non-profit dance company based in New York is helping veterans heal from their trauma through dance.

The founder of Exit 12 Dance Company is a Marine veteran himself and sought inspiration from his own life after his tour in Iraq.

The dance studio on 55th Street is full of stories, some of loss, trauma and healing.

"I couldn't get out of bed. To see me now, experiencing this, performing even. It's just so beautiful," said veteran Monique Arrucci.

Arrucci enlisted in the U.S. Army after 9/11. She transitioned into civilian life after eight years, and like many veterans, the change was difficult.

"They find it very difficult to speak about their stories, about what they're going through," Arrucci said.

She found herself with the Exit 12 Dance Company at the suggestion of Brooklyn Veterans Affairs. At the dance company, she was able to find her voice again.

"Movement is a universal language. We're able to come here without speaking to one another, get to know one another and feel each other's pain," Arrucci said.

Roman Baca, a Marine veteran and his wife, founded the non-profit dance company, inspired by his own transition after tours in Iraq.

They created a space for veterans to use movement to express their emotions.

Taylor Gordon has been a dancer all her life and joined Exit 12 more than a decade ago as one of the several professional dancers with the company.

While the mission of Exit 12 was always special to her, it became her way of coping after her brother took his own life eight years ago.

"It's been my way of processing that horrible tragedy. Other veterans, it doesn't happen with them," Gordon said.


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