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Eager to get on with the dance show, from left, Eve Diamond, Joseph Minde-Berman, Phillip Diamond and Eliza Minde-Berman leapt and swooned to instructions from their YS Kids Playhouse teacher Jill Becker, while she and husband Doug -Hinkley waltzed in the background. YSKP will offer various dance classes beginning next week, including new classes for adults. (photo by Lauren Heaton)

YSKP is no longer just for kids

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At the height of a YS Kids Playhouse production, when every member of the cast has gathered together at fever pitch to dance and belt out an ardent musical message, there can be a yearning, or even a fleeting sense of jealousy, that kids get to do all the fun stuff. But this fall, adults can have fun too, when YSKP opens up four new dance classes to people of all ages.

Beginning next week, YSKP will offer evening and weekend classes in ballroom, hip-hop, jazz dance/musical theater and tap dance aimed at participants from fourth grade and older. The new classes are an expansion of the education program for youth that YSKP has offered since 2008. They complement the nine other classes scheduled for youth only this fall, including new courses in ballet I and II, hip-hop and choral singing.

“I’m really excited about this — people caught onto the idea of classes and we kept hearing requests for ballroom, hip-hop, and it stuck with us,” YSKP Education Coordinator Jill Becker said. “The intent is to stick with more general classes to determine the specific interests out there.”

YSKP began offering musical theater classes and workshops for youth outside of its regular summer production season in 2008, according to YSKP Executive Director Lisa Hunt. The program attracted a greater number of youth than expected, and through grants from the Morgan Family Foundation and the Ohio Arts Council the following year, YSKP expanded its offerings year-round. While that program didn’t meet all of its revenue goals, the program increased its registration numbers to about 90 youth ages 3–15, who signed up for an average of two–three classes each in 2009, according to Hunt. And 85 percent of the participants are local youth.

“It was a good indication that this is something the community wants and that we’re fulfilling a need,” Hunt said.

And then the adults began hinting that the classes were cool and that they might want to take some, too. The education program has gotten more sophisticated, Becker said, but knowing exactly which types of classes the community wants most is a little more tricky. So YSKP leaders are offering a wide variety of classes with several new teachers to get a sense of the greatest demand.

The suggestion to have a ballroom dancing class came from a 12-year-old YSKP veteran. When Becker asked the student if she could take any dance class what she would choose to take, she said that she’d always liked ballroom dancing, Becker said.

Mario Kraszewski, former owner of Dayton’s Arthur Murray Dance Studio, will teach the ballroom dance classes on Tuesday evenings at the Presbyterian Church. The class will include elements of the popular social dances swing, salsa, rumba and merengue. The course includes two four-week sessions from Sept. 14 through Oct. 5.

Recent Wright State University graduate Lauren Morgan will teach tap and jazz/musical theater for all ages and two ballet classes for grades K–2. Basic tap will include flap heel, buffalo, stomp and scuff moves, while the jazz class will incorporate “across the floor and center combinations.”

Also a first-time class for YSKP, hip-hop will be offered by new instructor JD, aka “Dance Fever,” a University of Dayton graduate, who will teach moves including poppin’, breakin’, locking and krump as well as talk about the roots of hip-hop culture.

Classes for youth only will continue with several of Becker’s creative movement classes, a choral class taught by local music professor James Johnston, and an acting class led by YSKP alumna Lela Dewey.

Caryn Diamond began looking for dance classes outside of town for her daughter Eve, now 5, who needed a physical outlet for her active imagination, Diamond said. When she heard that YSKP was offering dance for kids, she signed Eve up for Becker’s creative movement class, and Eve found the perfect venue for flying and telling stories with her body. Then Eve wanted to try being a ballerina, and Diamond again started searching for ballet classes outside of town. But YSKP “was always one step ahead of us,” and now Eve is registered for pre-ballet with Morgan.

Hunt, for one, is sorry that ballet, which she took as a young girl, isn’t open to adults. But she is excited to be able to offer dance classes that even busy Yellow Springers haven’t had an opportunity to take here. And she wants to do it in a way that fits their schedules.

“There are a lot of things in Yellow Springs that people are involved in, and we want to be able to offer what people are interested in as part of their creative life at a time and place that works best for them,” she said.

Classes take place either at the Presbyterian Church or the dance studio on the second floor of the Bryan Community Center. Classes cost about $10 each, but participants are asked to sign up for a series so that the class can advance together. Participants are also asked to register early so organizers can gauge interest in the courses. Some classes may be canceled if people fail to register for them, Becker said. To register for classes and get the full schedule visit http://www.yskp.org or leave a message with YSKP at 767-7800.

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