Dance troupe, college partner to offer fun and free dance classes

  • Debbie Juniewicz
  • Contributing Writer
11:51 p.m Monday, Jan. 1, 2018
Former DCDC2 dancer Chelsea Neiss with a student in one of her workshops. CONTRIBUTED

Improved coordination, enhanced fitness, increased confidence, greater discipline and focus and it’s both fun and free. It’s a win, win, win, win, win, win, win.

The Movement Makers program – a collaborative effort of Central State University and the Dayton Contemporary Dance Company – will provide free dance classes for school-aged children from kindergarten through college starting on Jan. 20. The new program is an offshoot of Central State’s Music Mentors program, which has been providing free private music lessons and ensemble opportunities to hundreds of area young people for more than a decade. Funding was made possible through a five-year grant enabling all participants to attend free of charge.

“Everyone deserves access to artistic excellence,” program director Jenny Cruz said. “We created a really amazing system with our Music Mentors program and, now, we’re able to extend the program from music to music and dance.”

PERFECT FIT

The program is a perfect fit for DCDC whose mission includes a commitment “to reaching the broadest audience through exceptional performance and arts-integrated education.”

“DCDC is an incredible arts organizations not just artistically, but in their commitment to doing what they do for and with underserved populations,” Cruz said. “I really believe in what they do.”

Founded in 1968, the Dayton Contemporary Dance Company has entered into partnerships over the past decade with Central State University, Wright State University and the University of Dayton.

“Once DCDC started partnering with Central State, I knew something like this would be possible,” Cruz said.

Creative movement classes will be offered for young dancers in kindergarten through the fourth grade. While those in 5th through 8th grade as well as high school and college-aged students can enroll in a contemporary modern class.

POSITIVE BENEFITS

The benefits of dance can be both immediate and long lasting.

“The main thing is you get moving and, as a society, we don’t move as much as we should,” DCDC artistic director Debbie Blunden-Diggs said. “But dance also teaches discipline in a very specific way, and that’s one of those things that will carry over into other aspects of their life.”

The young dancers aren’t the only ones who will reap the benefits of this program.

“Our DCDC2 dancers have the opportunity to work on their teaching skills,” Blunden-Diggs said.

DCDC2 – the repertory-training ensemble of the Dayton Contemporary Dance Company – plays an integral role in the company’s education and community outreach initiatives.

Cruz has seen similar benefits for the college-aged instructors who teach in the Music Mentors program.

“We have so many wonderful, elite music majors here and this program creates the opportunity for them to gain the experience of teaching private lessons,” Cruz said. “It’s really an amazing program. There is absolutely always a need for arts opportunities and, now, to be able to incorporate dance is just incredible.”

MOVEMENT MAKERS

What: Free dance classes for students from kindergarten through college; classes offered include creative movement (grades K-4), contemporary modern (grades 5-8) and contemporary modern (grades 9-college).

When: Saturdays, starting on Jan. 20

Where: Central State University Dayton Campus/DCDC dance studio, 840 Germantown St., Dayton

Dates to remember: Jan. 20 – Movement Makers/Music Mentors spring session begins; April 28 – Spring recitals

More: For additional information or to register for classes, visit www.centralstate.edu and search Movement Makers or call 937-376-6406

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