By Suzanne Schmidt
At Contempo School of Dance, students are gearing up for another season of competitions.
Children ages 4 to 16 attended camp last week to learn dance moves and routines that dance competition teams will perform at contests such as The Hall of Fame national dance competition, Nexstar and On Stage America.
Instructor Michele Glenn said the camp was to help instructors pick their competitive dance teams. She is the instructor for the mini-ballet team.
“We chose the best of the best to come out to the camp,” Glenn said. “This is like their audition for the competitive dance teams. They are all learning dances that they will be doing at competitions.”
Land O’ Lakes resident Sydney Bruen, 10, said she likes the dance teams because she gets to go to competitions.
“It is fun to go to competitions because we get to see other dances and it is a lot of fun,” Bruen said. “I like the instructors here too because they explain things and they are nice.”
Students are not just learning how to move, they are also learning other useful skills according to dance instructor April Dumas.
“This is like their audition,” Dumas said. “We have already taught them four or five routines. It is surprising how much they learn. They are learning how to act in a class. We are teaching them about their facial expressions and about time management. They learn how to cope with other people.”
Nicole Bouchard, dance instructor, agrees that the children are learning more than just a few moves. She said she loves to dance so much she has been dancing for 32 years.
“This teaches them coordination and discipline and to be kind to each other,” Bouchard said. “It teaches them to not be shy. Also they are getting lots of exercise that they think is playing.”
Land O’ Lakes resident Kelli O’Shaughnessy, 16, has been dancing at Contempo for 14 years.
“This is helping us to get ready for competitions next year,” O’Shaughnessy said. “I like being able to dance and I like learning all these new tricks. I love coming here because all my friends are here, it is like my second family.”
Carolann Ruppe of Land O’ Lakes said she loves having her daughter, Emily Rose, 5, at the dance camp.
“She has been enjoying herself so much,” Ruppe said. “She loves it. She couldn’t wait to come here today. I think is a challenge for her to learn the moves, but I think everyone needs challenges in life. This is building her self-confidence. She is even teaching her little brother how to dance.”
Her little brother Joseph Michael, 3, is so inspired by watching his older sister that he is going to take a tap class in the fall. He said he is excited to learn more dance moves.
Land O’ Lakes resident Erica Wilton, 8, said she loves the Dr. Seuss dance she is learning in the class.
“I like dancing and going to this camp,” Wilton said. “We get to do fun things like jazz.”
Even boys can join in the fun. Land O’ Lakes resident Omar Brito, 10, was the only boy at the camp, but the school is always looking for more dancers.
“I think it is fun to dance,” Brito said. “They teach me new moves. I like the teachers here because they are funny, nice and cool.”
The school, 24148 SR 54, Unit 1, in Lutz offers classes in many forms of dance including ballet, jazz, tap, hip-hop, musical theater and acting. For more information, visit www.contempodance.com or call (813) 948-3262.