Class offers hip approach to dance at community center

Kindergartners' and first-graders' hip-hop dancing is funky, funny and tough. Well, as tough as it can be when they dance to Miley Cyrus music and giggles punctuate nearly every move.

A group of dancing youngsters got hip at the Rancho Santa Fe Community Center's newest class last Wednesday afternoon.

Kristina Stewart, 27, teaches the class as part of the business she owns, Rhythm Motion.

The former San Diego Chargers cheerleader started the business as a way to bring dancing to children with special needs.

In addition to her special needs groups, she also brings dance classes to six locations in Orange County and San Diego County.

Stewart said her classes build confidence, keep kids fit and also promote teamwork.

"People don't look at dancing as a team sport but it is, they are working together as a team," Stewart said.

Stewart incorporates a bit of aerobics and stretching into her classes, and by the end, she hopes her children will all improved their flexibility.

They also play fun games.

In the game played last week, the children had to pretend to be asleep and then wake up dancing as student-selected animals like hippos, butterflies and giraffes. First grader Amanda Molin injected humor into all of her characters and kindergartner Tessa Maud was frequently reduced to uncontrollable giggles.

In "across the floor" dancing, Stewart had her students do a hip hop walk. No one put more attitude into their dancing and walking than kindergartner Alexa Guemes.

Stewart next had the students work on their dance routine, which they will perform for their parents at the end of the classes. At the beginning of the dance, the dancers must strike a pose and first graders Elle DeGoler and Tessa Catlege were like old pros with their fierce poses.

Stewart and Rhythm Motion may return this summer for a dance camp that would explore several different dance styles. To find out more, keep checking the community center's website at

rsfcc.org

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