By Rebecca Flannery
When Rhea Torresso started a dance team for Acts Church her freshman year, she made it clear she didn’t want to waste time searching for extracurricular activities.
She created “Won by One” on her own.
In the fall of 2012, Glen Ellyn, Ill., sophomore — a freshman at the time — spoke with Acts Church college pastor Omari Head, about putting a dance outreach team together.
“My initial thought was that this was really, really awesome,” Head said. “We’re always looking for ways to be more of a presence in our community.”
Won by One’s outreach includes working through the church’s program, KidzJam from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday afternoons. The group teaches hip-hop choreography to kids from the Kate Ross Apartments in downtown Waco.
“Anything they can get crazy with, they love,” Torresso said. “Hip hop is used more for outreach for us because it’s an attention grabber. You can bring Jesus through it because it’s a wow factor.”
Since Won by One was started, it has grown to include eight Baylor students ranging from freshman to senior. The team encompasses many styles of dance with students’ experience levels ranging from beginner to advanced.
“It was a dream I’ve had for about four years now,” Torresso said. “I’ve danced my whole life so I thought, ‘How can I glorify the Lord through dance?’”
According to the group’s mission statement, its “passion is to serve, teach and perform with a spirit of excellence to create a culture that aligns with the Kingdom of God.”
After speaking with the church’s staff, it was on Torresso to get the program going.
“It escalated really quickly,” Torresso said. “It’s hard to have a big vision and start it from scratch. Really there was no foundation for it. Pastor Omari thought I was crazy.”
Church staff wanted to make sure the group would fit cohesively with what the church mission stood for.
“The longest part of the process for Rhea was getting her vision cleared by the church,” Head said. “We needed to make sure the vision from Rhea matched the vision of the church.”
Head said since its involvement in the church, Won by One has created more stylistic diversity. Since it’s not just a hip-hop group where talent is the focus, Head said the group is able to reach a variety of ages, generations and cultures in and outside of the church.
“Not only is there a diversity in the church, but there’s a diversity in the dance group,” Head said. “If you love dance, love kids and love the Lord, come on!”
Alexandria, La., freshman Mima Fondong joined Won by One at the beginning of the school year and is teaching her teammates contemporary choreography she composed.
“Dance has always been an important part of my life,” Fondong said. “I joined this church and they told me about their dance team where it’s not just about competition, it’s about dancing for a purpose.”
Two dance teams comprise the group that is Won by One. There’s an apprenticeship group for those who aren’t as experienced but want to sharpen their skills, and there’s a performance team. The performance team requires tryouts and overall has more experience with dance.
Anyone is welcome to try out and be a part of Won by One. Church affiliation is not a requirement. The last tryouts were held in November, however anyone interested in auditioning can contact Torresso at Rhea_terrossa@baylor.edu
“The vision came from trying to find an outlet for people who are gifted but don’t know what to do with it and don’t know how to reach communities with their gifts,” Torresso said. “It’s a place where you can be reached and reach others.”