HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Dancers and musicians from all over the state came together for the annual East Coast Explosion, an event raising awareness about community violence.

The Hartford’s Proud Drill Drum and Dance Corp hosted this event for a 7th year. It’s a part of their Stomp the Violence movement. 

“You have cities like Hartford where kids are struggling to just do day to day stuff,” said Hartford’s Proud CEO. “They go outside in the streets, gun violence, gang violence. All kind of violence. We try to be proactive, versus reactive.”

Ten dance teams took part in a friendly competition at Weaver High School. Performances included a combination of step, dance, drum and drill. 

“My favorite part about stepping is just being there, feeling it in the moment,” said Ezquiel De Los Santos, the caption of the New Creations Step Team from Bridgeport. “It’s amazing to be there and show up in front of a big crowd.”

The event promotes fun, talent and safety. They had free giveaways including gift cards and basic needs. 

Tayvon Berryman, a head coach of the Village Drill Team, said step teaches kids how to focus and how to achieve their goals 

“Some of us grew up in a generation where we wish we had somebody that told us if you apply this you could be better,” he said. 

The hope is this event will keep kids occupied and away from community violence. 

“I feel like it’s good for the kids, gives them an opportunity to get out of the streets, get out of the environment everyone is trying to get them away from,” said Charlie De Los Santos, a rapper and performer with the New Creations Step Team. “Also, it brings a lot of people together.”