Tiny dancers learn to love art of dancing

Sometimes it takes two or three weeks for a mom to be able to leave her child in the dance room, but they eventually come around and begin to enjoy the class.

“Our goal is to have them leave wanting to come back,” said Kim Daniels, speaking of her tiny dancers class at Dance South Studio in Chelsea.

A few of the 3- to 5-year-olds, like soon-to-be 4-year-old Melora Cargile are back for their second, or even third year. But most have just begun lessons for the first time.

Still, the general atmosphere is orderly, although lively. Little girls march into the dance room in their tiny pink or black leotards and pink ballet slippers, slip off backpacks and line them against a wall, then find themselves a spot marked on the dance floor with black tape, sit down and wait quietly for class to begin.

The “spots” help them learn to stand in a straight line and space themselves so they have plenty of room to dance, Daniels said.

As teachers “Ms. Kim” and “Ms. Amy” (Morrow) demonstrate techniques, some students watch quietly, as others begin trying the movements right away.

Skill is not stressed as much in the tiny dancer class as in classes for older students. Teachers want the little ones to learn to enjoy the art of dance.

“I want your child to love dance as much as I do,” said Daniels, who began dance classes at 3.

Dance South instructors also stress social development and effective interaction with others.

“The teachers are fantastic,” said Tina Cargile, Melora’s mother. “They take care of our kids.”

Cargile, who’s older daughter Maddie also studies at Dance South, said she’s found dance helps develop good self-esteem and is a good way for kids to make friends.

When asked what she likes about dance, 3-year-old Melora said, “I like to stretch to the Miss Puffy song and learn to twirl around.”

Dance South Studio at Chelsea is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year.

For more information, or to register a child or yourself for classes, call Nena Maniscalco at 678-4414 or visit Dancesouth.com.

Columnist Shelba Nivens can be reached by e–mail at ssnivens@bellsouth.net.