BY LINDA SCOTT
Want to try something new in the upcoming new year? Consider a dance class.
At A Steppin’ Time Dance Company at the Newton Recreation Center, Newton Twp., the classes are taught by owner and instructor, Kerry Gregory. She has one assistant director, Mariana Winters who is 22 and has been dancing at A Steppin’ Time since she was a little girl. In addition, there are demonstrators who help with the younger dancers.
Gregory has a bachelor’s degree from Wilkes University in music education with a minor in dance.
She teaches ballet for ages 3 to adult, jazz and tap classes for children in second grade to adult, a modern/lyrical class for dancers in sixth grade to adult and pointe classes.
The pointe classes are for dancers who have been doing ballet for a while and have the strength to dance in pointe shoes. Pointe usually starts around sixth grade and can also go to adult ages.
There is also a tap/jazz combo class for dancers in kindergarten and first grade. This class offers them a little preview and gives them a better idea of what tap and jazz entail.
An adult class will begin Jan. 10 at 6:30 p.m. and continue until the middle of May. It runs for an hour and is $10 per month. The class will run until the week of the dance recital and dancers will have the option of dancing in the show.
“At first, we will be learning a little of everything ballet, jazz and a little tap,” said Gregory. “The dancers will be learning stretches, warm ups, skills across the floor and also a jazz routine. The idea is to give them the same experiences and opportunities as the kids.”
Dancers are asked to bring either ballet shoes, jazz shoes or jazz sneakers. Jazz shoes are suggested as they are cheaper than sneakers and offer more support than ballet slippers. Comfortable clothing should be worn such as leggings or sweat pants.
She explained how she got involved in dancing:
“I have been dancing since I was 7 years old and still dance today at the age of 43. I get on the stage for a dance every year. I started demonstrating for my mentor, Christine Bertocki-Adams, when I was about 12 years old. I instantly fell in love with teaching dance and by the time I was in my early 20s, I was teaching classes as an apprentice instructor.
“After my childhood studio closed, I tried a few different places, but never had the same family feeling that I did there. Someone mentioned to me that they had a friend who was looking for an instructor to help out at a studio (in the area). That was during the 2013-2014 dance season and I took over the studio for the 2015-2016 season.”
Gregory has a son, Keenan, who is a junior at Lackawanna College.
“I have always wanted to be a teacher, and that hasn’t changed,” she said. “I am happy to say that not only do I teach dance but I also am currently a high school music teacher and chorus director in the Old Forge School District. “I can’t imagine myself doing anything else. I have always looked up to and admired the teachers I have had over the years. I want to inspire kids the way my teachers and instructors inspired me.
“I also want dance and other art forms to continue to bring out the best in people the way it did for me.
“Dance is great exercise and produces endorphins. It can take people out of their comfort zone, can be a great outlet and its something that an adult can do for themselves. For children, dance teaches them to follow directions, how to work as a group teaches them to use their kinesthetic memory and allows them to express themselves in a supportive environment.”
A Steppin’ Time Dance Company will present its annual recital on Saturday, May 30 at 2:30 p.m. at Abington Heights High School.
For more information on the dance company, visit its Facebook page, email Gregory at firstname.lastname@example.org or call or text 570-650-7617.