Two mothers who lost children in Lee Co. tornadoes open dance studio in childrens’ honor

lee co. dance studio in honor of tornado victims

Opelika, Ala. (WTVM) - Two cousins who lost their son and daughter on Mar. 3 to the deadly tornadoes have since opened a dance studio in Opelika in remembrance of the children.

Tyesha Hart lost her 8-year-old daughter Mykhayla Waldon.

“She was smart, sweet,” Hart said. “She had her ways, but she made it know, ‘I be here.'"

Tyesha’s cousin, Shamel Hart, lost her 9-year-old son, Jonathan Bowers.

“He was very loving, very caring,” Shamel Hart, said. “He loved animals.”

Both children were tragically killed in Lee County’s deadly tornadoes that left a total of 23 people dead in the small Beauregard community.

But out of the twisted and tornado ravaged landscape, and out of the life-altering heartache, has risen a beacon of hope for the family--a dance studio dedicated to the children.

“It’s hard,” Tyesha Hart said. “I’ve been trying to move around and stay out of a dark place. I just started doing better when I opened this studio. It’s been helping me.”

Mykhayla adored dancing.

“Mykhayla was an amazing dancer,” her former dance coach, Herman Johnson, said. “She danced with love, passion and soul.”

So when Johnson approached her mom about opening the studio, everything fell into place.

“It means a lot to see all the support we actually got behind it,” Shamel Hart said.

At the Royal House of Klass dance studio, the royal blue on the walls represents Jonathan’s favorite color. The pink, for Mykhayla.

And all the dancers are dancing for them both.

As these children dance, these two cousins find a way to march forward past the tragedy.

“After everything that me and Shamel went through, we’re still standing and we’re still trying to make a difference,” Tyesha Hart said.

Dozens of dancers of all ages are now dancing, with Mykhayla’s former coaches instructing them.

Jonathan and Mykhayla’s moms know the two children are supporting them in spirit.

“I just want her to know I’m proud of her,” Tyesha Hart said.

“Even though he wasn’t a dancer, he would still think it was lovely,” Shamel Hart said. “He loved kids and people, and to see them smile, he would really like that.”

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