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Children’s dance class blurs lines between virtual performance, education, traditional class

The Dance Connection of Hillsborough has launched a virtual dance class called Dancing Outside the Box (DOTB) for children ages 3-5 years old. The class keeps children moving by combining elements of an educational TV series, a dance class and a virtual performance.

The virtual dance class fills a need for many parents of younger children who are looking for an engaging and educational activity to keep children kids moving at home, according to information provided by owner David Kieffer.

Each class has a limit of 10 children. Classes meet weekly, just like a normal dance class and each week’s class has a different theme. Young dancers journey to outer space, the North Pole, or to a pirate ship. There are dozens of themes.

During the class teachers use multiple virtual backgrounds for each theme giving children the feeling of being part of a movie.

“When creating the class, we knew that if we wanted to keep the kids engaged and learning, we had to spark their imaginations. Each background is related to a new step, a short dance or a movement game. The teacher interacts with the backgrounds in fun, and sometimes silly, ways. The children love it,” Kieffer said in the statement.

The class teaches ballet and hip-hop steps and engages children in developmentally appropriate games and exercises.

In addition to teaching dance steps, children learn about the world.

“The class is educational too,” Kieffer said in the statement. “If our theme is snow, of course we’ll do the penguin dance, but in the process, kids learn that penguins live in the south pole and polar bears live in the North Pole.”

Parents can opt to get regular text reminders 15 minutes before class.

Families also have access to recordings of past classes so they can re-do the class as many times as they want.

“We pride ourselves on getting back to our dance families quickly,” Bridget Macdonell, The Dance Connection’s office manager, said in the statement. “We want everyone to feel like they are part of our dance family, even if they are only taking class virtually.”

DOTB was launched in November. Already, the program has students from all over New Jersey, as well as families from Connecticut, Washington, D.C. and New York. Students from anywhere in the country, even the world, can take the classes.

Classes will continue regardless of the pandemic, Kieffer said.

Located in Hillsborough, The Dance Connection was established in 2007. In addition to providing virtual DOTB classes, The Dance Connection offers in-studio dance classes to children ages 3 through high school. The Dance Connection also teaches on-site dance classes at preschools throughout Central New Jersey.

For more information, email David@DanceConnectionNJ.com or call the studio at 908-874-8800.

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