MOUNT KISCO, N.Y. — From the cha-cha to the waltz to the salsa to the foxtrot, the children of the Step Up Dance Company know their dance styles, and their energy on the dance floor was infectious Tuesday afternoon.
The group of junior ballroom dancers in kindergarten through fifth grade, who participated in the program through the Mount Kisco Child Care Center and Neighbor’s Link, showed off their routines for seniors from My Second Home in an energetic performance at the center.
Dottie Jordan, director of the Mount Kisco Child Care Center, said that initially, the children had no idea what ballroom dancing was. "When you first tell them, they don't know what it is. In a way, that’s kind of a good thing," she said, laughing.
This is the summer ballroom dancing workshop’s second year performing for the adults of My Second Home, which shares a facility with the center. It functions as part of the center's JEWEL program, bringing together these two generations to participate in activities together to enrich the lives of both.
Andrey Savenko of Fred Astaire Dance Studio in Bedford Hills is Step Up’s principal ballroom instructor.
“We tried to incorporate some modern music as well,” Savenko said, such as Jennifer Lopez’s “Let’s Get Loud” and Boney M’s “Bahama Mama.” But, he noted, it was somewhat of a challenge to find a modern song that works for the foxtrot.
After working on ballroom basics for two months, two of the children have shown special prowess: Valentina Valencio, 7, and Sebastian Rodriguez, 8. Judy Simon, one of the principal organizers of Step Up, is interested in training them to perform as a team at national competitions.
“It was kind of a dream of my mine to give children that opportunity if they want to compete,” said Simon, a Mount Kisco resident. She said she got into ballroom dancing only recently and now tours with Savenko at competitions across the country as an amateur/pro duo.
Simon also teaches dance to the seniors at My Second Home every Thursday along with Savenko.
At Tuesday's show, seniors tapped their feet and canes to the music, and some looked ready to jump out of their seats and join the kids.
“The response they have to the music is totally amazing,” Simon said. “It has been scientifically proven that music has a positive impact on the brain.”
The kids from the Step-Up Dance Company will perform ballroom routines at the Mount Kisco Chamber of Commerce’s Sidewalk Sales days. Savenko will help to judge the new talent contest featured at this year's event.