Tahlequah Daily Press

Local News

June 6, 2012

Pop, lock and slide

TAHLEQUAH — Thanks to an onslaught of television programming featuring dancers from all genres, many youth are putting down their iPods and video controllers this summer, and opting to dance instead.

Tuesday, six girls ranging from ages 6-10 participated in “Hip Hop Anonymous,” a dance camp hosted by Northeastern State University’s Continuing Education Office.

All confessed to enjoying one dance TV show or another, but the most popular, by far, was “Shake It Up,” a Disney production.

Mika Allen, 9, a visitor from Sallisaw and participant in the camp, gets lots of inspiration from the show.

“I just love to watch ‘Shake It Up,’ because of how they dance,” she said. “I love dancing. I took lessons from Mrs. Jordan, where I live. I also like to do art.”

Before the class began, Mika demonstrated her stretching abilities for the other girls, doing back bends and crab walks.

“I can’t do a somersault, though; it’s too hard,” said Mika. “I’ve danced hip-hop before, and I’ve been rehearsing it off of ‘Shake It Up’ on TV.”

Alexis Bowen, 6, of Dallas, is visiting a cousin who lives in Tahlequah, and decided the camp would be fun.

“I’ve never taken dance lessons before,” said Alexis. “But I watch ‘Shake It Up,’ too. I’m hoping I can shake things up a little after I learn here, but I’m not doing the splits. That would hurt.”

DeeAnn Amlin, NSU student and instructor for the course, is somewhat of a hip-hop veteran. She began dancing at age 5, but didn’t learn the hip-hop style until she was in her teens.

“When I was little, hip-hop wasn’t really offered,” said Amlin. “When I was 12 or 13, I was introduced to it in competition, and I began seeing it on TV dance shows; that’s when started learning the moves.”

At first, Amlin said, she felt awkward making the hipster moves, as she’d been trained in ballet, tap and jazz.

“It was my least favorite form, because I hadn’t grown into my dancing abilities,” said Amlin. “Once I learned the basic movements, it became one of my favorite styles. I like it because it’s not a strict technique, and you kind of get to do your own thing.”

Amlin danced for Tahlequah High School’s pom squad and taught the other members of her team hip-hop dancing.

“Then, when I enrolled in ballroom dancing here at NSU, the instructor asked me to teach the other members of the class the hip-hop moves,” she said. “I’m always willing to teach it because it’s so much fun for me.”

After a brief trek from the Continuing Education office to the Shawnee Street Theater, the class learned to stretch before starting the dance class.

Then, the fun began.

Amlin began teaching basic moves, including the up-rock, the six-step and the slide.

A couple of participants were unsure of the six-step, and Amlin backed things up, making sure each child was confident before moving on.

“Now, let’s put the moves to music!” said Amlin. “Feel that beat? You want to move into your up-rock to the beat.”

Before long, all six girls were popping and locking, hoping to give their Disney idols a run for their money.

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