Sunday, July 14, 2024

Keeping Up With People

Rebecca Allen Offers K-8 Summer Dance Camps


Rebecca Allen, former professional dancer in Los Angeles, is offering dance camps for K-8 kids in Cashmere. The classes will take place in the Vale Elementary gym and both the K-4 group and the 5-8 group have spots available, which can be reserved by texting the word SUMMER to 425-209-0018. The classes will take place Aug 9-11 and 16-18.

“I'm using the Vale gym. It is nice enough. I have a good amount of space to be able to work with and then my previous students from my old studio have offered to come down and be of assistance. I have plenty of help, and we have a good-sized space to work with. I can hold up to 100 or 120 kids,” Allen said

Allen formerly owned a dance studio in Wenatchee but stepped back during the pandemic to focus on her family. She is starting with summer dance camps but may expand them in the future. When her kids are older, she may go back to owning a studio, but for now she is focusing on camps which are less time intensive.

A Cashmere High School graduate with the class of 2000, Allen first moved to Cashmere at five years old and spent her K-12 years there. She then moved to California to become a professional dancer and trained at the Millennium Dance Complex in Hollywood.

She worked with a talent agency while in LA to find work in commercials, music videos, infomercials and dance shows. Allen had a fun time in LA but does not want to go back to the life of a professional dancer.  After a few years in LA, she came back to the Wenatchee Valley and opened a dance studio.

Kids as young as fourth or fifth grade start to feel insecure about the way they look, but dance can help with that, Allen said. She said that dance builds self-esteem, helps people to feel comfortable moving their body and improves social skills. While dance has a history of preferring slender tall dancers, Allen said that is no longer the case.

“I'm not [the stereotypical body type]. I never have been,” she said. “I was always more of a voluptuous, more Latina kind of style girl. I was never the skinny girl in ballet and pointe shoes. I mean, I did ballet. I did pointe for many years, but body types are not [a focus]. And I think in the past, like 10 to 15 years, it's changed… dancing is for everyone.”

The dance world does not discriminate based on ethnicity or body type, she said, but the media can make it seem like that is the case while in reality the world of dance is very inclusive. When Allen started out in dance, she said that there was more of a stigma that dancers need to be skinny, but now that dance has become mainstream this belief has changed.

TV, Tik Tok and social media show that you can be involved in dance today with any body type, Allen said. Any body type can be a dancer and there has never been a better time to be involved in dance, she said.

If the dance classes go well and there is interest, Allen may continue dance camps in the fall and offer more intensive camps but wants to make sure she has time for family. Her dance studio was open for eleven years before COVID hit. When the shutdown happened, her daughter was three, and Allen realized she previously had very little time to spend with her daughter because of work.

During the school year, Allen said she will probably do six-to-eight-week dance camps for ages three to eighteen.  Many moms have been interested in dance classes, so Allen may offer adult dance classes as well. She was trained in many styles of dance including tap, ballet, musical theatre, contemporary and lyrical dance.

On her first day of announcing the K-4 classes, she had almost fifty kids signed up. Because middle school parents were also interested, Allen decided to start a 5-8 camp this summer.

She is taking it slow while creating new dance camps, because she is enjoying being a mom. While she has been a dancer since the age of five and wants to continue her passion, she also wants time to care for her children, one of whom is special needs.

“I've been a dancer my entire life. It's what I do,” she said. “People in the world know me as Miss Becca for many, many reasons. But right now, I'd like to kind of start small and see how I see how I like it. See how it looks with my family this year.”


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