Before we leave South Atlanta, I have to tell you about Chris McCord, 37, whose life was changed when he met Bob Lupton’s daughter-in-law, Dana, founder of Moving in the Spirit, a youth dance program. McCord grew up in a rough part of nearby Decatur with his wheelchair-bound mother, who became a paraplegic when a drunk driver ran into her.
“You gonna be a sissy and dance with girls,” his friends mocked. Soon after he joined, Dana Lupton pulled him aside and said, “You know, you’re smart. I’ve never seen anyone pick up dance moves as quickly as you do,” she said.
One day McCord, his eyes smarting from re-reading a high school assignment, took a break and began to dance the story. He found that he could remember it that way and got 100 on a test the next day. He told Dana Lupton, who said, “Chris, you are a kinesthetic learner.” Quite literally, he remembered what he performed.
“This totally changed my life,” he said. He graduated from high school, then Perimeter College and Georgia State University in business management. “And I’m not supposed to be in college, I’m supposed to be a garbage man.” In 2003 he raised $68,000 to start Men in Motion, his dance program for inner city boys, and has continued to fund-raise for it. The next year, with help from FCS, for $16,000 he bought a home in South Atlanta and learned to rehab it. He now owns four homes, three of them in South Atlanta, where he lives.
On May 7, 2015, I attended “Wonder Years,” a Moving in the Spirit dance program set to Stevie Wonder songs, performed at the historic Rialto Theater in downtown Atlanta on the Georgia State University campus. Men in Motion performed, and in a solo show-stopper, McCord did things with his lithe body that didn’t seem possible.