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July 29, 2012

On National Dance Day, Zumba and hip hop lay down the beat

TERRE HAUTE — Feet swept across dance floors throughout the country Saturday as participants joined in for National Dance Day 2012.

Teresa’s School of Dance hosted the local event Saturday morning as part of a grassroots movement now in its third year. About 15 dancers joined in at the school’s new location on the second floor of Meadows Shopping Center, making for a double celebration as owner Teresa Miles hosted an open house.

“We were downstairs for 12 years and on Wabash Avenue for 10,” Miles said as participants wrapped up a session of Zumba, a fitness program incorporating Latin dance and hip hop moves.

National Dance Day is sponsored by the Dizzy Feet Foundation, a collaborative effort launched in 2009 by Katie Holmes, Carrie Ann Inaba, Adam Shankman and Nigel Lythgoe, executive producer of the television series “So You Think You Can Dance.”

“Everyone in the United States learned these dances today,” Miles said of the hip hop and Zumba routines spanning 10 a.m. and noon. Participants kept up with each other online from as far away as Los Angeles.

Mandy Chapman came out of the classroom still sweating after leading a session. The 25-year-old Zumba instructor got her own start dancing at Teresa’s School of Dance at age 6. Now a registered dietitian at Terre Haute Regional Hospital, she said teaching Zumba is in keeping with that passion.

“Since I’ve danced my whole life, it’s a great way to keep in shape,” she said, noting the activity burns 800 to 1,000 calories per hour.

Miles said dance combines art and athleticism into one.

“You put these together and you have dance,” she said. “There’s nothing like it.”

Bridget Ireland, the school’s assistant director, taught hip hop Saturday morning. A biology teacher at Terre Haute North Vigo High School, the 26-year-old said she’s been dancing since age 3.

“I don’t know, since I could walk,” she laughed, remarking that babies instinctively dance to music as soon as they’re able to stand upright.

Hip hop, she said, is a genre of dance in its own right. From Michael Jackson to Chris Brown, the style incorporates a number of forms. Dance, she said, allows people to both de-stress and express themselves.

“I’m glad it’s getting the recognition it deserves,” she said.

Brian Boyce can be reached at 812-231-4253 or brian.boyce@tribstar.com.

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