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Footloose and fighting fit

6 December 2016

Hackney children have been throwing some shapes to get fit, thanks to a series of free streetdance classes.

St Luke’s Church has been hosting the classes, run by Rebirth Dance Network, for the past 11 weeks, following funding from Sanctuary Housing.

The sessions, which taught children in the Morningside area how to perform streetdance, were designed to improve the wellbeing of young people aged seven to 12 years by helping them to make new friends and have fun while getting fit.

The activity also offered a way to reach out to parents and provided dance tuition for families who would struggle to afford lessons.

At the end of the 11 weeks, the children involved put on a special final performance at the church, which included three sets of group dances, alongside the solo acts with added parent participation.

Shameeka Campbell, whose children Mekai, eight, and Cyanna, seven, have taken part, said: “Cyanna is normally quite a shy girl but the dance project has really brought her out of her shell and she’s now much more outspoken and has some great new skills.

“Her rhythm has really improved and I didn’t know she could cartwheel until she came back from the class and showed me! Mekai is always in front of the mirror now practicing his moves.”

Rebirth Dance Network tutor Vincent Newell added: “This group has all bonded really well together and it’s been great fun to teach them. The routines they performed have increased their coordination and helped develop their mental focus.”

Sophie Lejeune-Peggie, Sanctuary’s neighbourhood partnerships manager, said: “These dance sessions have been a fantastic opportunity for families in Morningside to try something fun and new that they wouldn’t have otherwise been able to.

“We are always happy to support projects that bring communities together and help us reach out to parents, and it’s fantastic that we can do so by supporting a project that helps get children in the area fitter and develop new skills.”

Sanctuary funded the sessions through its Community Investment Fund, which supports projects benefiting Sanctuary residents and their communities.


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