At RAMS, retro is cool

Megan Buffington, Story and photos
Kaiserslautern American

Traditional dancing has become less popular with today’s youth, but two teachers at Ramstein American Middle School are trying to change that.

***image2***Stacie de Leon and Charlotte Holloman started an after-school Retro Dance Club, which meets every Tuesday. About 20 to 30 students meet, and learn a variety of dances, including jazz, swing, salsa and step.

“Since Stacie and I love dancing and many types of music, we thought it would be fun to host an after-school program that exposed kids to a variety of dance styles,” Ms. Holloman said.

The Retro Dance Club has visiting dance instructors demonstrate various types of dancing. R.J. Garrison was the club’s first instructor and taught the students swing dancing. Many of middle-schoolers took to this charming dance and still continue it during their warm-ups, the teachers said.

“My daughter, Glynnis Holloman, who is on the (Ramstein American High School) Dance Team, came to demonstrate a few jazz dance numbers, including a routine from the team’s October performance of ‘Thriller,’ ” Ms. Holloman said.

***image1***Gwen Allen volunteers every week to teach a group of students a jazz routine. Not all students who come to the Retro Dance club are beginners.
“Some have had jazz or ballet lessons, but most don’t know the specialized dances, such as swing or salsa,” said Ms. Holloman. 

Kevin Oatis, RAMS eighth-grader, is leading performers and teaches in the Retro Dance club. Oatis was part of the Rhein-Main Step Team for two years and gained a lot of experience, he said.
“I’m using certain parts that I learned on the step team and teaching the routines to the club,” Kevin said.  “It’s a lot of responsibility.”

“I like to get up there and dance,” said student Chelsi Brown. “It helps me become more open and comfortable with getting up on stage and performing.”

The Retro Dance club will perform a Spring Variety show, showing off their skills and what they have learned. (A final date has not yet been set.) Teachers and students expect the show to include routines and all types of dancing, from hip hop to swing.