Community members are collaborating and kids are dancing at the opportunity. Twelve kids starred at the second annual Step Up dance recital, which was presented on June 28 at the Geary Theater at USU Eastern. Community volunteer Kat Krum and Alex Boniquisto from United Way ran the summer program. The dances were taught to the kids by members of Carbon High drill team.
The Step Up dance program was founded with an idea from Krum. Krum explained she had a daughter in dance and had accumulated quite a few costumes. She felt it was a waste to throw the costumes out as generally they are only worn one time and many are of considerable cost. She also thought about kids in the community who can’t afford to participate in dance. That is when the idea of the program began to form.
She took her idea to Cheryl Thayn at United Way. From there, the concept grew and went to the Coalition to Support Economically Disadvantaged Citizens. Members of that group include the Carbon County Sheriff’s Office, USU Eastern, the Southeastern Utah Association of Local Governments and other concerned individuals. The groups’ focus was to help qualifying family’s children to experience healthy, safe activities and opportunities in the community.
The Carbon County Housing Authority provided the practice space. The practices were held in the summer, two hours per day, twice weekly. The volunteer dance teachers from the Carbon High drill team were Tony Torres (who taught hip hop and country line dancing), Dani Blanton, Brylin Pierce and Elena Vigil, who taught the kids lyrical and jazz dance. The program was $10 per child and it was available to both boys and girls ages five to 12 years old. Sign up for the program took place at United Way.
Krum said the highlight of the program was watching the kids grow in self esteem and confidence. She was happy to report that two of the dancers had been in the program the last year as well. The pair not only returned for the dancing, but both chose to choreograph their own dance routines for the 2019 Step Up dance recital. The program offered the tools for life skills. So, in this case, the kids were not just picking the tools up, they were dancing with them.
“I have loved seeing the teens in our community pour into the lives of other kids. These kids have grown in confidence and skill through the Step Up dance program, and I’m excited to see how this program continues to make a positive impact in the future,” stated Krum.