Terrance Calvert found his passion in dance.
And through his patient tutelage, he was able to inspire the same passion in others, especially the kids who came within his purview. He had a knack for giving them the same self-confidence and purpose that he discovered through dance.
"Once he found dance, he found his passion," said his mother, Linda Calvert. "A passion for dance and for life."
A future in entertainment seemed assured for this talented young man, who had already auditioned in New York City for road tours. But it was not to be. He died Friday of kidney cancer. He was 22 and lived in Drexel Hill.
After his death, his mother said that she was inundated with messages from the many people who were charmed and influenced by Terrance. And it was not only his dancing and his teaching that inspired them, but also his courage. Terrance refused to quit the stage even after his diagnosis, when the pain in his back would have stopped most people. He strapped on a back brace and kept on dancing.
And on Sunday, Mother's Day, nearly 30 well-wishers gathered outside the family home to put their feelings for Terrance into song.
"He never lowered the bar for himself or anybody else," his mother said. "He was incredibly concerned for the kids who needed to build confidence in themselves. He poured his heart out to them. Many lives have been changed by him."
Terrance danced in numerous musicals presented by the Upper Darby Performing Arts Center, in Drexel Hill, as well as in the Upper Darby Shooting Stars concert series — dancing in schools, theaters, churches and most recently in Rose Tree Park, in Media.
He danced in "West Side Story," "Crazy For You" and "The Wiz," among others. He often did his own choreography.
After a performance of "The Wiz" in March 2008 at Upper Darby High School, an Inquirer critic singled out Terrance and the other dancers who comprised the "Yellow Brick Road" number for praise. "Often in large musicals, an ensemble stands out because of members'ability to work as one," Valerie Broussard wrote. Terrance and his group "shone brightly," she wrote. "Their funny reactions and high-energy movements added something special to each of their scenes."
Last October, when Terrance was still struggling to dance through the pain, he got an unexpected thrill. He and family and friends went to New York to see "Wicked," and afterward met the actor and choreographer Maurice Hines, a special hero of his.
They accompanied Hines to a studio where Terrance put on dancing shoes, took up a cane and went through dance routines.
Terrance was born in Philadelphia and raised in Upper Darby by his parents, George and Linda Calvert. He graduated from Upper Darby High School in 2009, and took some courses at Delaware County Community College.
"He lived his passion and was able to pass it on," his mother said. "He was very direct. He didn't pull any punches."
Besides his parents, he is survived by three brothers, Najah Calvert, Mustafa Rideout and Tyree Rideout; three sisters, Lakia and Atya Rideout and Sarah Fox.
Services: A viewing will be held at 5 p.m. Tuesday at Toppitzer Funeral Home in Arlington Cemetery, in Drexel Hill. A memorial service will be planned for June. n