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‘The Charleston’ proves no match for Horizon sixth-graders

Just forget ‘Gangnam style’ or ‘moves like Jagger.’ Sixth-graders at Horizon Elementary School took it way back ‘old school’ recently when they learned to swing dance.

Sixth-grade teacher Emily Vandagriff coordinated the “Swing Dance” session, with help from instructors at Madison Ballroom Dance Studio who guided the 85 students through the dance moves.

The dance experience correlated to the sixth-graders’ current study of the Jazz Age from 1919 to 1929. “Music was a huge part of life during this time, so I thought incorporating dance pertinent to that period in history would help the kids better relate and remember the concepts,” Vandagriff said.

Vandagriff enlisted help from professional dancers Traci Romine and Christopher Tucker at Madison Ballroom Dance Studio. “They were wonderful with the kids, and we all had a great time,” Vandagriff said.

Romine and Tucker taught the Horizon students to dance “The Charleston” to period music from the 1920s, including that dance’s theme song and “Yes Sir, That’s My Baby.”

The swing dancing involved four or five steps. “They had to have partners, which made for a very interesting and funny class,” Vandagriff said. “The kids picked up on the steps pretty quickly. By the end of the session, they were doing a great job.”

Sixth-grader Ian Kurowsky said that learning the Charleston “was actually sort of fun. It was more fun than I expected it to be. I like the Gangnam style, and some people still do the ‘cat daddy.'” His parents are Jay and Danielle Kurowsky.

Taylor Harris, whose parents are Richard and Annette Harris, wasn’t quite as exuberant. “The swing dance was interesting,” Taylor said. Lexi Gilchrist said, “The dancing was fun. The moves were weird.” Lexi’s mother is Melinda Gilchrist.

Madison Ballroom Dance Studio’s address is 9076 Madison Blvd., Suite C/D. For information, call 256-461-1900.

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