• Doing the Robot: Hip-Hop Dance Class Boosts Confidence and Fitness

    This fall,TCN’s WOW! (Watch Out World!) after-school program added a new wrinkle to its slate of leadership and empowerment activities. As part of WOW!’s TEAM (Training, Exercise, and Active Movement) programming, the group’s 3rd and 4th-grade girls formed a hip-hop dance troupe.

    “The goals are to encourage students to create an athlete identity and practice positive risk-taking,” explainsWOW! instructor Samantha Ferber. “They learned that there are many ways to stay active and dance is one of them.”

    The lessons were run in partnership with Next Step Dance Studio, free of charge.The instructor, DaMone “Momo” LeBeau, quickly became a legend on campus. “He was like our own personal celebrity,” says Berger.

    “What I like about Momo is he’s super-cool and funny and really nice,” says 4th-grader Riana. The kids look still look back in wonder on the day Momo taught them “The Robot.”

    “Momo is so good at the robot dance, that sometimes...” says Itzel, pausing for effect. “He’s so good that sometimes I think he may actually be a robot.”

    “Dancing is fun but we also learned that it’s good for our health,” says Itzel. “It helps our hearts and makes us more powerful.”

    "Hip-Hop Dance also made use feel like a team," reflects Daisy, "because we were all together. For example, the group was GIRLStart [another after-school program] and WOW! together.” Dance class also combined schools, with the group split between International Community School and Think College Now. (The schools share a campus.)

    "It was good for their socio-emotional well-being because it definitely put a smile on their face,” says Ferber. “They experienced something they weren’t completely comfortable with and had such an amazing time dancing!”

    “It’s important for us to learn new things like hip-hop dancing because learning new things makes you more confident, and it"s great exercise," says Daisy. "I want to dance more in the future because it was a lot of fun and I just want to keep doing it – maybe in January we’ll do more!”

    Hip-Hop Dance Team at TCN