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Examiner
  • Magic movement

  • At age 2 1/2, Alexis Calhoun wants to attend school like her older brothers.

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  • At age 2 1/2, Alexis Calhoun wants to attend school like her older brothers.
    But many classes require an age minimum of 3 years, her mother, Jaime Calhoun, says. Then, the Blue Springs family came across BrainDance, an activity for 2- to 4-year-olds taught at Vesper Hall in Blue Springs.
    So, Alexis attended “school” for the first time Friday morning in the opening session of the latest round of BrainDance courses taught by Susan Reynolds Berg.
    “She’s a very active child,” Jaime says, laughing, of her young daughter. “It’s not really formal, but (BrainDance) is to help her become more social and attune to what music and dancing are.”
    If you’ve never heard of BrainDance, you’re not alone, Reynolds Berg says. The “dance” was developed by Anne Green Gilbert, who also founded the Creative Dance Center and Kaleidoscope Dance Company in Seattle. While it is taught across the United States, Reynolds Berg says BrainDance isn’t too widely known in the Midwest yet.
    BrainDance focuses on patterns of breath, tactile, core-distal, head-tail, upper-lower, body side, cross lateral and vestibular through movements, dance styles, music and props. Benefits, according to the Creative Dance Center, include reorganization of the neurological system; increased blood and oxygen flow to the respiratory system and brain; enhanced core support, connectivity and alignment; and a deep understanding of the elements of dance technique.
    At age 2 1/2, Keilah Wheeler of Grain Valley is already starting her second session of BrainDance. Keilah completed her first session with Reynolds Berg earlier this year, which she joined because her mother, Krystalle, was looking for a dance class within the family’s budget.
    At first, Keilah, who also attends preschool now, wanted her mother to participate with her, but the little girl was on her own Friday morning.
    “The first time, I was having to do the Mommy and Me, but she told me on the way here that she wanted to do it by herself,” Krystalle says.
    Because Krystalle’s mother-in-law is involved with ballroom dancing, Krystalle says she’ll likely enroll Keilah in an advanced dance class once she completes BrainDance. Keilah also enjoys music and dancing on her own at home, and Krystalle says she appreciates that BrainDance teaches children to listen to someone else, as well as the music, and then react.
    “This is good structure for her. Each class is different, and it’s very appropriate for their age level,” Krystalle says. “The first time, I came in expecting a performance, but this is age-appropriate.”
    As a parent, Jaime Calhoun says finding classes for 2 year olds is difficult since many require an age minimum of 3 or 4, even though at 2 years, “they’re ready to go, and they’re very active,” she says, laughing.
    Page 2 of 2 - “Two is hard because there is such a wide range of intelligence,” Jaime says. “They are learning so much, so fast, in that year.”
    From dancing with scarves to reaching on their tiptoes to cooling down like a “rag doll” in a stretched-out movement, BrainDance aims to inspire children to pursue classical, ballet, tap and jazz dance, as well as improvise and create their own dances, Reynolds Berg says.
    And, like the school that older children attend, BrainDance allows the development of friendship.
    “Bye, Girl,” Keilah Wheeler told her new friend, Alexis Calhoun, at the conclusion of Friday’s 30-minute class.
    “We’ll see you next week,” Krystalle Wheeler says, smiling, to Alexis and Jaime.
     
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