Jennifer Anderson teaches her class moves to the song “Do You Love Me?” by The Contours. The class meets Tuesdays and Thursdays in the gym at Halverson Elementary School. --Tiffany Krupke/Albert Lea Tribune
Jennifer Anderson teaches her class moves to the song “Do You Love Me?” by The Contours. The class meets Tuesdays and Thursdays in the gym at Halverson Elementary School. -- Tiffany Krupke/Albert Lea Tribune

Archived Story

After-school dance club at Halverson is a hit with students

Published 9:00am Saturday, January 25, 2014

By Tiffany Krupke
tiffany.krupke@albertleatribune.com

When students enter the gym for Ms. Anderson’s after school dance club, there is excitement in the air.

They race through the doors, tossing their backpacks to the side of the gym, eager to start.

Each week, members of Halverson Elementary dance club meet on Tuesdays and Thursday to learn a new dance.

“I like it because it is fun and we have fun dances and Ms. Anderson is our teacher and she is really nice,” said Halverson Elementary student Rahea Lunaclay.

Jennifer Anderson has taught this class to two groups of students, each lasting about six weeks. The dance club is open to students in third through fifth grades. Each day begins with warm ups before the students begin learning a new dance.

First grade teacher Jennifer Anderson helps a student line up during dance practice. The dance club ends each day by performing for students and parents.
First grade teacher Jennifer Anderson helps a student line up during dance practice. The dance club ends each day by performing for students and parents.

And the cost of each set of classes? Only six dollars, which goes towards paying for a T-shirt to decorate for the recital and the cost of being bussing.

Anderson is a first-grade teacher at Halverson with a love of dance and teaching.

Anderson usually picks songs she is familiar with and talks to her students for feedback.

“I’m thinking about teaching them ‘What Does the Fox Say?’ because they love that song,” Anderson said. “I’m already thinking of motions in my head.”

When Anderson first put the word out she was starting the club, 50 students were interested. Anderson divided the students into two sessions; the first session performed a holiday show in January.

Two of the songs they performed were “Let it Snow” and “Firework” by Katie Perry.

Anderson’s passion for dance is what made her start the after-school club.

Anderson, a graduate of Winona State, has been dancing for 19 years now. She teaches dance part time in Rochester, including a tap dance class.

“It is really good that these kids get the opportunity to learn and be active,” Anderson said. She is also happy that the class is affordable.

The current session of fourth- and fifth-graders in the class has been delayed by school cancellations.

A student jumps in time to the music during dane club. The class learns a new dance each practice.
A student jumps in time to the music during dane club. The class learns a new dance each practice.

“It was so hard because school kept getting canceled,” Anderson said. “The kids would come up to me and be like ‘Noooooo!’ because they were going straight home instead of to class.”

Anderson is surprised by the popularity of the class and thought she would only have a few students interested.

Still, it is hard not to notice the smiles on the students’ faces as they danced their way through “Do You Love Me?” by The Contours and “Hey Brother” by Avicii.

Most of the students are beginners, Johnson said, though some of them have previous experience. She said she has enjoyed seeing the students come out of their shells.

“I like that we do different dances,” said Alexis Talamantes, a student of the dance class.

The class jumps to help warm up before learning a new dance. The class will perform in February.
The class jumps to help warm up before learning a new dance. The class will perform in February.

The Tuesday class ended with the class performing the dance to a group of students in after school programs and some of their parents.

The students finished with a bow before leaving for the day.

Johnson hopes to continue her after-school class next year.

“I love dance myself,” Johnson said. “I am so glad that I get to share it will them.”

Johnson’s said the dance club will perform in about a month. The students will have a party to make shirts, posters and programs for the event.

“It is a great way for them to be active and to learn a new skill,” Johnson said. “I love dance. I would be so sad if I had to stop.”