Dance impacts young girls’ lives: Six-week program culminates in free show Sunday at Knox

From the Register-Mail:

T’Asia Edwards loves to dance. The Steele Elementary School fifth grader never had the chance to take lessons, so she looks online for videos of her favorite dancer Dymond Cruz, a renowned preteen hip hop dancer. But then the Boys and Girls Club presented her with the opportunity she had dreamed of.

The club teamed with Midwest Dance Group, a local modern dance company, to create Let’s Move It, a six-week dance program for students age 11 through 15 teaching them about dance and culminating in a free show at 5 p.m. Sunday at Knox College’s Harbach Theatre.

“But it’s not just about taking a dance lesson,” said Kathleen Ridlon, director of the Midwest Dance Group and assistant professor of dance and coordinator for the Center for Community Service at Knox College.

The group, comprised of Knox College students who work on a by-project basis, taught young participants the process of putting together a show, from dancing to publicizing. They kept journals and studied the history of dance. Ridlon said she hoped through these leadership experiences that the roughly 20 girls who participated would gain self-esteem as well as a knowledge and appreciation for dance.

“Through this program they’re becoming better individuals. … It’s pretty amazing how only a couple weeks can change every single one of them,” said Angelina Rosa, a 20-year-old Knox College student and Midwest Dance Group member.