In2Dance Company blends literacy with dance

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Connie Elsberry is bringing her own “dance immersion program” to the youth of Valencia County at In2Dance Company in Los Lunas.

Elsberry, who has a background in dance and education, says she wanted to “do something different with dance that would appeal to boys and girls.”

Ungelbah Daniel-Davila News-Bulletin photo: Connie Elsberry has been a dancer since the age of 3, and is bringing that passion to the youth of Los Lunas through the In2Dance Company.

What she came up with is an innovative curriculum that blends literacy with different types of dance, including ballet, jazz, lyrical and hip hop.

She calls dance her passion and says her goal is to create a safe, non competitive atmosphere where children can experience dace without the usual pressures associated with the art form.

Every month Elsberry introduces her classes to a children’s book or poem, which she projects onto a wall of the studio using her iPad. The class then dances out the book.

They begin in whatever way they are inspired to move and then Elsberry slowly begins to introduce classic dance techniques.

For example, if to symbolize a leaping fish in a story the class is naturally drawn to spins, Elsberry will introduce them to pirouettes and slowly build dance structure and technique from there.

“It cements the dance without knowing that you’re doing it,” she said, which makes the experience less intimidating and more natural. “There’s not a fear factor to anything we’re doing.”

The book component allows something for parents to take home for children to practice with. Because the wall she projects onto reflects into the mirrors that the children face when dancing, they are able to easily follow instructional videos that Elsberry might use to show them different techniques.

If there is a certain type of dance, such as hip hop, that students are interested in exploring, Elsberry will find videos on YouTube that interest them and then break down the moves so they are easy to learn.

She says her classes, which range in age groups from 3 to teen, so far have been absorbing everything very quickly so she has been able to introduce them to writing their own choreography.

She says dance is “a lifelong outlet for your feelings,” and help empower children and help them cope with situations.

Elsberry says she wants the community to know that In2Dance is about the students and is a place where kids can go for a safe, creative experience and where “kids can just be themselves without competition… I want kids to be able to feel good about themselves.”

Elsberry said she has been dancing since the age of 3, and has danced with the Aspen Ballet Summer Repertory Company and Mesa State Repertory Company and was the owner of the Fundamental Studio of Dance in Craig, Colo., where she also coached high school cheer and drill teams.

At In2Dance, she welcomes other companies and people who work with youth to reach out and network with her, such as a guest hip hop dance company that will visit her school in November.

She also welcomes parents to drop in and observe a class with their child to see if it’s the right fit for them. Classes are $10 each or $40 monthly fee, and a $5 monthly deduction will apply for each sibling enrolled.

In2Dance Company is located at 3414 N.M. 47 in Los Lunas, and Elsberry asks interested parents to call her at 363-3816, to learn more about the program.

Classes are Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays after school.


-- Email the author at udavila@news-bulletin.com.