Instructor shares her love of dance with a younger generation

Oct 9 2012 - 8:19am

Images

(BRIAN WOLFER/Special to the Standard-Examiner) Kids stand on their feet mimicking Angie Collinwood at the Clearfield Aquatic Center.
(BRIAN WOLFER/Special to the Standard-Examiner) One of Angie Collinwood’s dance students enjoys the introduction dance class at the Clearfield Aquatic Center.
(BRIAN WOLFER/Special to the Standard-Examiner) A student mimics Angie Collinwood during an introduction dance class at the Clearfield Aquatic Center.
(BRIAN WOLFER/Special to the Standard-Examiner) A dance-class participant follows the instructions of Angie Collinwood during her introduction dance class at the Clearfield Aquatic Center.
(BRIAN WOLFER/Special to the Standard-Examiner) Angie Collinwood tells kids to stretch out before more intense dancing at the Clearfield Aquatic Center.
(BRIAN WOLFER/Special to the Standard-Examiner) One dance student jumps up in excitement. She was having a lot of fun during Angie Collinwood's dance class at the Clearfield Aquatic Center.
(BRIAN WOLFER/Special to the Standard-Examiner) Kids stand on their feet mimicking Angie Collinwood at the Clearfield Aquatic Center.
(BRIAN WOLFER/Special to the Standard-Examiner) One of Angie Collinwood’s dance students enjoys the introduction dance class at the Clearfield Aquatic Center.
(BRIAN WOLFER/Special to the Standard-Examiner) A student mimics Angie Collinwood during an introduction dance class at the Clearfield Aquatic Center.
(BRIAN WOLFER/Special to the Standard-Examiner) A dance-class participant follows the instructions of Angie Collinwood during her introduction dance class at the Clearfield Aquatic Center.
(BRIAN WOLFER/Special to the Standard-Examiner) Angie Collinwood tells kids to stretch out before more intense dancing at the Clearfield Aquatic Center.
(BRIAN WOLFER/Special to the Standard-Examiner) One dance student jumps up in excitement. She was having a lot of fun during Angie Collinwood's dance class at the Clearfield Aquatic Center.

CLEARFIELD -- A gallop is not the same as a skip.

The difference is that the skip is a step, hop, meaning picking up one knee, whereas the gallop is like dragging one foot behind the other.

This simple distinction is just one of many things instructor Angie Collinwood tries to impress on a young group of students. She is teaching a variety of classes for youngsters at the Clearfield Aquatic Center.

Classes include hip hop, jazz/ballet and little-dancer classes for ages 3 and 4 and 4 to 6. Class times and dates vary, but they all run into November.

West Point resident Helen Norris wanted to make sure she registered her daughter, Tayla, for the youngest dance class. The 3-year-old can be shy when asked about dancing, but her face beams when the music starts and she begins moving.

"The first day, she was dancing all around, looking in the mirror and prancing," Norris said. "She loves it."

With her pink leotard and multicolored tutu, Tayla twirls around the dance floor.

"It is fun watching her dance around," Norris said.

The joy students like Tayla get is exactly what Collinwood seeks.

Collinwood, who has been teaching dance in Clearfield for five years, said dance has always been a passion of hers. She has danced for 30 years, and her love of it led her to minor in it at Utah State University as she earned a degree in family and human development in 1996.

Now, she is helping youths learn the joy of dance that she herself experienced.

"I love helping children -- and anybody, really -- to enjoy movement," she said. "There is a joy in moving your body. It helps people feel better, stronger and more confident."

And, she said, it gets people's creative juices and inspiration flowing.

"It just helps us be better overall."

The three classes at Clearfield target a variety of styles.

Little dancers is the basic introduction to dance. Collinwood said it is designed to show children how to explore their creative potential while giving an introduction to dance. She explained that youngsters that age aren't ready for a lot of the technical aspects of dance, but they can learn the basics of movement.

"This shows them that dance can be fun," she said. "It's a start before they move into the more technical side of dance."

A typical dance class starts with a fun warmup, in which the children stretch and do simple movements. The students clap their hands, sway their arms and bend their knees. The stretching has even been set to a classic song with minor tweaks in the words.

"The wheels on the bus go round and round" has changed, and in this version, "the dancers on the bus stretch like this" is sung as the students move.

No matter what is being taught, Collinwood tries to make it interesting and engaging, so the students will love dancing.

"Dancing is really good for anybody, because it helps us. Our bodies learn balance and coordination," she said. "This can go on to help them whether they pursue dance or not."

These basics will help with sports, posture and confidence, she said.

Collinwood hopes people take advantage of the dance classes offered because they are a reasonably priced way to enjoy dance with little commitment.

"This makes it more affordable for families to give their children this experience," she said.

Classes are held at the Clearfield Aquatic Center, 825 S. State St.

Registration can be done online at www.reconline.org, by phone at 801-525-2790, and in person at the Clearfield Aquatic Center or at Clearfield Community Services, inside the city municipal building, 55 S. State St.


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