Cary Kamperschroer teaches drumming, rhythms and gumboot dance to, from left, Lucas Rowse, Brandon DeShazer, Kolton Voeltzel and Cole Morgan on Friday at the Northwest Ballet Studio. Late registration for the Boys Only Workshop eight-week series will be open until Oct. 17.

Photo by Matt Stensland

Cary Kamperschroer teaches drumming, rhythms and gumboot dance to, from left, Lucas Rowse, Brandon DeShazer, Kolton Voeltzel and Cole Morgan on Friday at the Northwest Ballet Studio. Late registration for the Boys Only Workshop eight-week series will be open until Oct. 17.

Dance workshops introduce boys to different styles

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If you go

What: Boys Only Workshop, eight-week session for boys ages 8 to 12 presented by Children's Danceworks

When: 4 to 5 p.m. Fridays Oct. 17 through Dec. 19 (no class on Oct. 31, Nov. 7 and Nov. 28); classes started Oct. 10, and late registration will be open through the end of the week

Where: Northwest Ballet Studio, 326 Oak St.

Cost: $110 for eight sessions

Call: Wendy Smith Mikelsons at 846-4450 or 736-1005

Workshop sessions

- Drumming, rhythms and gum boot dance with Cary Kamperschroer

- Fitness and agility with Antonio Marxuach and Wendy Smith Mikelsons

- Hip-hop dance with Tiana Buschmann

- Hip-hop/street dance with Ryan Browning

- Hoop dance with Jennifer and David Harlan

— Faced with the idea that his African drumming and gumboot dance classes might make an impact on young boys' conceptions of dance, teacher Cary Kamperschroer can't imagine why those arts wouldn't be popular.

"Dancing is for everyone. It's beautiful," Kamperschroer said, adding that drumming might be a good way to break through possible stereotypes of dancing being a predominately feminine activity. One of several teachers for the semi-annual Boys Only Workshop put on by Children's Danceworks, Kamperschroer will lead a group of 8- to-12-year-old boys in dancing and drumming to help their mind, body and coordination.

The eight-week session includes lessons in fitness and agility, hip-hop dance and hoop dance. Wendy Smith Mikelsons, owner and director of Children's Danceworks, said the workshop highlights the benefits of dance to boys who might be hesitant to participate.

"When the boys get to a certain age, dance is kind of like a bad word," Smith Mikelsons said. Offering a variety of sessions in drumming, fitness and various styles of dance, she said the workshops give students balance and agility they can use in other activities.

"For a lot of the boys, they might like dance, but they have this pre-made notion that it's ballet and tutus and just for girls - you know, pink," Smith Mikelsons said.

With mostly male instructors, the workshops also provide positive male role models for the boys participating, she said. Exercises in hoop and hip-hop dancing allow students to stay active while getting some experience in the performing arts.

"I've had a great reaction from parents who just find that this is a really neat thing aside from sports that's active, but is creative and (involves) the brain and the body," Smith Mikelsons said. In addition to building strength and balance that can be helpful in other sports, Smith Mikelsons hopes the classes serve as an introduction to areas of dance boys might not consider otherwise.

"When the boys are younger, they come (to dance classes) and when they get to a certain age, it's like it's not cool anymore," Smith Mikelsons said. "So I want to show them that it takes a lot of strength and coordination and skill (to be a dancer)."

Classes started Friday and run weekly from 4 to 5 p.m. Oct. 17 through Dec. 19. Late registration will be open until the Oct. 17 workshop.

- To reach Margaret Hair, call 871-4204 or e-mail mhair@steamboatpilot.com

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