Steamboat Springs The students of Strawberry Park and Soda Creek elementary schools had the rare opportunity Friday to scream at the top of their lungs while still in school.
They screamed every time a member of Boulder dance crew the BE Life threw a back flip or spun on their heads. They screamed and stretched their hands into the air to be chosen as a volunteer to dance in front of their classmates. And when each assembly was over, they mobbed the seven dancers with high-fives, hugs and requests for more back flips.
“Dancing is emotional,” acknowledged BE Life member Herb Neil, speaking to the dancers’ energy and the students’ reactions. “It’s an outburst of emotion that you can’t control.”
BE Life visited both elementary schools for performances and workshops Friday as part of local dance nonprofit Steamboat Dance Theatre’s annual community outreach program.
Tiana Buschmann, a local hip-hop dancer, instructor and Steamboat Dance Theatre vice president, said it wasn’t the dancers’ fresh moves that kept her captivated.
“I’m more entertained by the audience and their reactions,” Buschmann said. “It’s nice to expose them to different art, and I love that Steamboat Dance Theatre can be a part of that.”
Early in the morning at Strawberry Park, BE Life tacked on a 30-minute workshop to one of the assemblies. Hundreds of third- through fifth-graders had the chance to learn a few moves and even “pop” and “lock.”
BE Life dancer Tobias Lopez said he remembers watching dance performances as a child with the same awe and enthusiasm he saw in the Steamboat students Friday.
“You get to be yourself, you get to find yourself in it,” he said.
After the assembly, a group of third-graders near the back were out of breath.
“It was so awesome,” Luke St. John said. “They were showing us moves I didn’t know could be done, that I’ve only seen on TV.”
“I like that you get to move around and get out of the house and you get to do moves,” classmate Evan Wright said.
Beck Kuhlman had a few of his own moves to show off in the back of the gym: He showed his friends break-dancing skills — like “the worm” — that he had perfected at home.
BE Life dancer Julia Clayton said the group hopes to inspire children by traveling to schools and reaching out into communities.
“Dance has affected all of us in a positive way,” she said. “You make really great friends.”
At Soda Creek, the dancers offered brief performances throughout the day and then returned to the students’ school dance Friday evening to teach them a choreographed dance.
On Saturday, the dancers will offer workshops at Elevation Dance Studio for children, teens and adults. For more information about today’s workshops or to sign up, visit www.steamboatdancetheatre.org.
Saturday at Elevation Dance Studio
■ Noon to 1 p.m. Kids hip-hop (8 to 12 years old)
■ 1 to 2 p.m. Urban movement (teen and adult)
■ 2 to 3 p.m. Contemporary (teen and adult)
■ 3 to 4 p.m. Urban contemporary (teen and adult)
*Workshops are $5 for children and $10 for adults. Two classes are $15, and three classes are $20.