Editor’s Note: Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., award-winning actress and choreographer Debbie Allen, and the television show So You Think You Can Dance announced the launch of a new initiative called the T2 Dance Crew. This national education and wellness program encourages people with type 2 diabetes to increase physical activity as an important part of managing their condition. Our Corporate Blog team talked with Debbie to find out more about the project.
Diabetes is a growing epidemic in the United States, affecting nearly 26 million people. Why is this important to you personally?
My father had type 2 diabetes and I saw firsthand how challenging it was for him to manage the disease. He tried to make some changes to his lifestyle, but the one thing I couldn’t get him to do was exercise more. I lost my father early, to diabetes complications, at the age of 63. A life-long dancer myself, I knew there was an opportunity to help motivate others to be active – and actively manage their type 2 diabetes. It’s a growing problem in our country and especially among racial and ethnic minorities, but managing the disease can reduce people’s risk of serious complications.
Tell us about the work you’re doing through the T2 Dance Crew.
I’ve joined the T2 Dance Crew to get people with type 2 diabetes DANCING! We are showing millions of people how taking small steps can make a meaningful difference in managing diabetes. It takes a full program – healthy eating, regular exercise, controlling weight, working with healthcare providers – to manage this disease. I know that making changes can be difficult. But through this initiative, Janssen and our crew are providing support and resources that can help.
Why do you think dance is so universal?
Dancing is part of who we are as human beings. For me, it’s the ultimate expression and truly something that everyone can participate in. Dance can inspire you and keep you moving. You can do it at home, on the go, with family and friends. Best of all – it’s fun!
How do people get started?
It’s easy. We’re working with So You Think You Can Dance fan favorites Fik-Shun and Janette Manrara who have created an exclusive dance video series showing people with type 2 diabetes how to get started – one step at a time. There are Hip-Hop and Latin dances we all can do on the website: www.T2DanceCrew.com. Videos and information about diabetes management are available in both English and Spanish. We’re also taking the T2 Dance Crew on the road. The program will host local events that feature live dance classes taught by Fik-Shun and Janette, health screenings and type 2 diabetes education across the country in partnership with leading community organizations. People can find out about upcoming events and join our mailing list by visiting www.T2DanceCrew.com.
What is it like working with such inspiring talent?
It’s simply amazing. I am fortunate to work with and discover phenomenal talent every single day. It inspires me to be my best and continue bringing the joy of dance to others.
Thank you for sharing that inspiration with us. We’ll see you on the dance floor.
To learn more about the T2 Dance Crew program, resources and local events, visit www.T2DanceCrew.com.