Adriana Taylor loves to dance. And her aptly named Gotta Dance program is a terrific way for young children to learn basic movement and rhythm.
Gotta Dance was one of the signature numbers in the 1952 classic Singing in the Rain, featuring Gene Kelly and Cyd Charisse, and the dancing was sensational.
“My classes are really introductory and accessible for any child,” says Taylor. “Most children like music and like moving to music, so I work through counting the tempo of the music with stretching movements or balancing on your tippy-toes or clapping games.
“The children enjoy it and it’s fun.”
Taylor has been dancing for almost 20 years. And although her background is more classically oriented in ballet, she’s taken jazz, step dancing and even a little hip hop. She was also a competitive diver for a while, but always went back to dance.
“I really looked up to my dance teachers when I was young,” she says, “and when I was hired by the city for the program in 2015, that’s what I wanted to be – a teacher that kids look up to.”
And they obviously do. Taylor’s classes for three-, four- and five-year-olds are usually full. “The optimum number is 11 or 12 students,” she says. “That means I have more time to work with each student individually.”
Each class is approximately 45 minutes long, and the sessions last eight to 10 weeks. During the final class, parents get to watch the students perform.
“I invite the parents to come and watch a short routine that we’ve been practising,” says Taylor. “The students are thrilled to show off what they’ve learned and are usually pretty proud of their accomplishments. It’s enjoyable for everyone.”
Occasionally parents ask Taylor about enrolling their child in more disciplined classes. “I tell parents that if their child is enjoying it, by all means, continue with more dance classes. Having a background in dance can be really beneficial for other sports as well.”
Taylor says her dancing ability really helped her competitive diving, and that hockey players often take ballet classes. “Learning to move and feeling good about it has so many benefits. I tell parents, just go for it.”
Find out more about the Gotta Dance program at the Nepean Creative Arts Centre at www.ottawa.ca/nepeancreativeartscentre and register your child today.