Education of Dance

LAKEWOOD SENTINEL Thursday May 27th 2010 BY RYAN PARKER Ryanp@milehighnews.com
Local instructor incorporates educational lessons with movements” A Lakewood dance instructor not only teaches children the fun moves, but other educational lessons when visiting Jeffco elementary schools and daycares.

“I think it’s important to make math and other subjects a part of dance so all the lessons stick in their heads,”

said Jessica Clayton, instructor of Dance Exploration classes at Allana’s Academy of Dance.

Clayton, a Lakewood resident of three years said, she makes a point to visit Jeffco schools to get children interested in dance, and to keep them in shape.

“I have been told from gym teachers that their classes have been cut back, sometimes to twice a week. They are worried about their kids staying healthy and in shape,”

Clayton said.

Clayton and five other instructors have visited 10 schools in Jeffco, usually during gym time, showing students how to cut a rug. If students are interested, they may take a class after school at their own building.

“Everything about dance is educational. You have to count the music, have spatial awareness and learn social development with the others in class,”

Clayton said. During the summer, Clayton offers classes for children to teenagers who want to continue their dance skills.

Mary Jo Jones, physical educator at Green Mountain Elementary School, said the class was a success when visited this year.

“It was an opportunity to try new action and ideas. They (the students) were able to use their brains in different ways,”

Jones said. Clayton introduced the class to students during gym time, and offered lessons after school for those who wanted to participate.

“Moving their feet is a great way to make brain connections,”

Jones said. She added that 10 students participated in the after school classes, which had a performance for parents at the end of the course. “It was a hit for the parents and kids.

They (Dance Exploration) can come back any time,” Jones said.
Classes cost $5 for 45 minutes and $7 for an hour, Clayton said. Dance Exploration makes its way to day care centers as well.

“I think it went well, they really seemed to enjoy it,”

said Lori Candage, director of A Child’s Place in Edgewater, after Clayton visited the day care. She said children signed up for classes after the workshop.

“I think dancing is absolutely essential to children’s brain development,”

Candage said. She added the class coming to the day care for lessons makes it easier for more children to be involved.

For more information on the Dance Exploration class, visit dancexploration.com or call 303-949-1975



Photo by: JUSTIN SAGARSEEJessica Clayton, founder of Dance Exploration, hangs out with children during a dance class at A Child’s Place in Edgewater on Thursday, May 20.

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