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Learning Never Stops

By Jae Ponder | October 10, 2012

Whew! Summer is officially over, you’re back to regular work hours, and the kids are back in school. For most families, parents work the normal 9 to 5, whereas kids may be done with school as early as 2pm.  Some kids and young adults spend their afternoons alone with nothing to do. This can ultimately lead to delinquency, gang activity, or even obesity.  What is your teen doing after school?


What extra-curricular activities are your youngsters a part of? Most teens aren’t equipped to make the best decision being unsupervised, with nothing but time on their hands.  Why not give them something productive to invest their time and energy in? Should you be reading and looking to put your pre-teen/teen into something worthwhile, you’re in luck.

I recently stumbled across a program called the Forces of Nature Dance Theatre Youth & Wellness Academy, located in Harlem, NY that houses after-school dance classes for free, Mon-Fri for ages 12-17.  It is a sponsorship through Harlem’s Children Zone in partnership with Forces of Nature Dance Theatre, which teaches program attendees Modern, West African, Movement, Hip-Hop and Repertoire.
This enables young adults who have a world of curiosity the chance to delve into their artistic abilities, outside the books, while developing a pattern of learning through movement, learned choreography, stage design, costumes, lighting and theater. This opportunity gives back to the community, which is what is needed for present and future generations.  And no, it is not required to be a trained dancer, this program teaches the fundamentals of the body and the basic structures  and foundations of dance allowing kids to grow immensely. The company has even turned some of their after-school participants into apprentices who perform in the company and later, company members who have eventually gone on to world tours, Broadway (FELA), and “So You Think You Can Dance.” All that is required of applicants is the willingness to learn.  Forces of Nature Dance Theatre will handle the rest.
Whether it’s after-school or turned into a career, give our kids the chance to be more.
Contact: Marta Tejeda marta@forcesofnature.org
Photos courtesy Forces of Nature Dance Theatre

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