The Northerner

Dance class reaches out to young students

Casey Binder, Contributing writer

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“We just wanna make the world dance, forget about the price tag,” lyrics by pop-star Jessie J rumbles through the auditorium, ricocheting off the pencil-marked wooden chairs to the ceiling. Here at Oyler Elementary, “Girls in Motion” dance away their stresses and frustrations to maintain a healthy lifestyles.

The Dance for Fitness class at Northern Kentucky University taught by Heather Britt conducts healthy living outreach programs through dance to the Northern Kentucky and Cincinnati communities. This year, Britt helped create “Girls in Motion.” This program will run the spring semester at Oyler Elementary school in Price Hill, Ohio to teach healthy choices and living to girls.
While dancing onstage during Monday’s class, the girls’ faces glowed with sweat and excitement as they followed the high-energy dance steps being taught by Britt and Kelsey Patterson, a student in her dance class.

“I have taught dance classes all my life, but this is different,” sophomore public relations major Patterson said. “It’s good knowing the girls enjoy doing it but also that I’m helping them to live healthier.”

Eventually, all the students in Britt’s Dance for Fitness course will take a turn teaching the girls since “Girls in Motion” do the same dances as her class at NKU.

Britt said the idea for “Girls in Motion” grew out of community research conducted by the Price Hill Health Clinic and the nonprofit organization Harmony Gardens. The research concluded that young girls in this area needed more outreach programs that focused solely on them.

“The ages of these girls are difficult ages to reach,” Britt said, since “Girls in Motion” is concerned with girls ages 12-18. “We want to teach them how to deal with stress and to maintain a healthy mind and body.”

One core mission of “Girls in Motion” is to help fight obesity. According to the Center for Disease Control, obesity rates tend to be higher in low-income families, making Oyler Elementary an ideal recipient for the program since it is a Title I school, said Britt.

Judy Harmony, who started the nonprofit Harmony Gardens, said one goal of the nonprofit is to engage the community in issues revolving around girls’ health.
This class may be about healthy living, but it is a way for the girls to get their creative juices flowing. During Monday’s class, Britt gave the girls the opportunity to choreograph some of their own dance moves. Britt said she will incorporate their moves into one dance for them to do in class. She hopes the girls will learn to use choreographing dance as a mechanism for relieving stress.
At the end of each spring semester, a dance showcase is held for dance majors and classes to show off their accomplishments from the year. Britt said she hopes to bring some of the “Girls in Motion” to perform with her and her dance for fitness course at this showcase.

Britt said any student who is interested in taking her dance course can, since it isn’t just for dance majors. Britt can be contacted at britth1@nku.edu.

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Dance class reaches out to young students