Professional dance crew teaches boys and girls club to dance
Boys and Girls Club participants learn to dance
Next Level Steppers representing Shreveport at National Convention
SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) -
A Shreveport line dancing group is representing Northwest Louisiana at a dance convention in Atlanta, Georgia that began Thursday and will continue through Sunday. They are up against hundreds of line dance groups around the nation.
Next Level Steppers founder James Alex also known as "Ninja" says he is trying to put Shreveport on the map in the line dancing world, "We got into it for fitness and before you know it, it escalated and just went off. Now it's just like our profession, we do it on a professional level," he said.
The group is not only aiming for national recognition, but also setting out to inspire kids at Boys and Girls club to show them a new fun way to exercise. They are holding classes at the summer. Alex says he wants to show the kids they can get in shape in a whole different way.
"You know they are exercising and they don't even know it," said Boys and Girls Club program coordinator Da'Lisa White. Smiling, she waves towards the boys and girls who are carefully following the dance instructors and explains the kids had been asking her for fun summer activities. That's when she got the idea to recruit the Next Level Steppers, "I thought line dancing was not only fun but a form of exercise," said White.
"Right, left, and surf," shouted Alex as he walked the group of two dozen boys and girls through dance moves. "Line dancing is synchronizing steps together," he explained. "Three, four," he shouted, crossing his left foot over his right foot, "Everybody going the same way, that's what its all about."
A 13 year old girl followed Alex especially carefully, making sure to get every move just right. She says she wants to be a dancer when she grows up, "I like to dance and I want to show people I can become something."
17 year old Meshach Witherspoon works at the Boys and Girls Club, he is used to helping the younger kids with homework and playing basketball with the older ones, but line dancing is a new experience for him. "I've never thought about doing it before they came up here and did it with us, but I'm enjoying it," said Witherspoon and his enthusiasm for the new activity, helped motivate the younger kids to take it seriously.
"To me its another form of exercise, to give their mind something more of a challenge, it's easy but it's a challenge until you get it," said Next Level Stepper instructor Da'Necia Gray and adds line dancing will help the kids get their recommended one hour of exercise a day. "Most kids don't have access to a gym and if they did, they really wouldn't know how to use the equipment properly. With line dancing, their body is the equipment," she said.
Alex says the dance form can also help the young teens express their frustrations in life better, "When you line dance, you become a family, it'll tone down your anger a lot." When the practice was over, Alex clapped his hands together and exclaimed, "Ya'll did that! You did that!" Smiles spread across the boys and girls faces as they joined in on the applause.
The Boys and Girls club will hold a performance at the end of summer to show off their new line dancing skills.