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Ballroom and Broadway come to Camellia City

“Got that sunshine in my pocket, got that good soul in my feet . . . I can’t stop the feeling so just dance, dance dance!”

Youngsters and grownups alike will be able to experience the joy of dance next week as two hometown gals share their talent and experience at Sonya’s Dance and Fitness Studio in downtown Greenville.  Sonya Rice will kick things off in the mornings July 10-14 with a “Broadway and Ballroom” Summer Dance Camp for children ages 9-13. The camp hours are from 9 a.m. until noon Monday through Friday.

“The kids will be participating in group drama exercises, vocal exercises, improv exercises, and dance and flexibility exercises,” explains Rice. “They will be studying two different Broadway musicals during the week, watching the filmed versions and learning the plot and casts.”

The students will learn key songs from the shows, practice choreography, makeup application and learn about costuming just like a real Broadway performer.

As Rice always strives to do with her camps, creative arts are incorporated into the curriculum, with the students slated to complete two Broadway-themed art projects during the week, ending with the videoing of their two mini-musicals for a special keepsake of their memorable week.

And there’s more.

“The kids will also get the learn all the basic stances and techniques of several ballroom dances during our dance camp,” says Rice.

And speaking of ballroom, professional competitive ballroom dancer and dance instructor Olivia Glenn, a former student of Rice’s, is coming back home to teach an evening class for adults. Slated from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. July 10, 12, and 14, this class will focus on the ABCs of the samba and East Coast swing, Glenn says, complete with a Saturday night social on July 15 to give everyone a chance to practice their steps.

“We will cover the basics of lead and follow so everyone can do them effectively. The rumba is a Latin dance, a dance of love, sometimes called a ‘waltz with a wiggle.’ It can be danced to any music with a quick-quick-slow rhythm,” Glenn explains. “On the other hand, the swing is a very fun, energetic dance done in place and rotating. It can typically be danced to any big band, country or even beach music.”

Ballroom and Latin dancing used to be thought old-fashioned. Today, however, the huge popularity of shows like “Dancing with the Stars” has seen social dancing ever on the rise, Glenn says.

“And really—who wants to be on the sidelines when you can be in on the fun?”

Glenn, who performed as a guest artist at Rice’s dance recital in June, is hoping to make periodic trips back to Greenville to offer additional instruction to those who want to trip the light fantastic.

“Greenville has always held a special place in my heart. Being able to return to my hometown and share my talents, heart and skills means the world to me . . . I am hoping that ballroom/social dancing takes off here and becomes a regular thing,” Glenn says.  “I am in the process of relocating further south to Atlanta and will be closer to home to make it happen.”

And she is always ready to tout the many benefits of dancing.

“It’s the best type of exercise, not only physically, but mentally. It makes you happy. Happy to overcome and learn something new. We should never stop growing,” Glenn says. “Dancing becomes a part of you, whether you are meeting new people, having a date night with your loved one, or even just going out. It will pull out a different, fun, ‘inner child’-like quality that you’ve always had deep inside, but you just had to find it again.”

For anyone interested in the dance camp or ballroom dance instruction, it’s important to call 334-456-2923 and see if spots are still available for next week.

“I, for one, am so excited to see everyone again,” said Glenn. “So put on your smiles and your dancing shoes and I will see you at the studio!”