WOOSTER – As the song “Don’t Worry Be Happy” echoed throughout the room at the Wayne County Public Library, Kimberly Crislip Payne laughed and danced along with her students.
Each person moved in a unique way, occasionally looking at Crislip Payne whenever they got lost or did not know what to do. If she saw a student getting frustrated, she simply said, “Don’t give up, that’s your only goal,” encouraging each student to keep going.
Going the distance:Orrville teacher to run in Boston Marathon for first time
The class, Dancing from the Inside-Out, is an eight-week course through the library where adults 55 and older can get active while learning new dances and information about dance. The workshop is led by Crislip Payne who is a teaching-artist, choreographer and consultant.
Two weeks in with a waitlist for the class, Crislip Payne and her students are enjoying the course and have begun working their way toward a culminating event where Crislip-Payne hopes to show off their new skills.
Growing the forest:Wilderness Center’s Sigrist Woods becomes part of Old-Growth Forest Network
Dancing helps Crislip Payne advance from D’s to A’s in school
For Crislip Payne, dance has always been a big part of her life as it helped her go from D’s to A’s in school.
She studied dance in college, getting degrees and certifications from three different institutions, and has produced 55 dance and multimedia concerts, including some live music projects accompanied by symphonies.
Although she loves dancing and performing, the one thing Crislip Payne enjoys more is sharing her love and knowledge of dance with others. When she heard about the Creative Aging Ohio initiative being run by the Ohio Arts Council, she jumped at the opportunity.
The initiative was introduced in 2013 “to create and expand programs that engage older adults in the visual arts, dance, music, writing and theater,” according to a post on the Ohio Arts Council website.
Crislip Payne is one of 28 artists across Ohio chosen to lead art programs this spring, and she chose to focus on showing older adults that they can be active and have fun through dance.
“Anybody who wants to dance needs to know that they can,” Crislip Payne said. “And that there’s not necessarily a right or wrong way to dance. And that dance is for everyone and that it makes us happy. ”
What the dance class entails and the point behind it
Each class is 90 minutes with a series of stretches and exercises throughout and an educational portion at the end where Crislip Payne shows videos and leads discussions.
Crislip Payne tries to keep the class light-hearted and fun by having students do exercises like “walking like you’re at the grocery store” or “are stuck in traffic,” and allowing students to choose the music.
Crislip Payne said her other major focus is making sure her students are learning something new every week.
“A lot of things that are already created for ages 55 and older, they’re not progressive,” Crislip Payne said. . … So, let’s take it to the next level and let’s let you choreograph some things and let’s create, together, a work of art. ”
Promoting student reading programs:Fran DeWine promotes Imagination Library reading program in Wooster and Millersburg
The next step and future of the class
With six weeks left in the class, Crislip Payne’s goal is to work with her students to put together a final performance that includes everything they’ve learned and put on a performance during their final class. She hopes to open the event to the public ..
Although she can not take any more students since the class is full, Crislip Payne is excited to see how many people are interested. She hopes the class will lead to more classes so more people can get involved.
“Every time that I have an opportunity to do something new like this, it generally breeds a new generation of programs and those can last for a long time,” Crislip Payne. “So, I anticipate that I’ll be able to meet more people, more pedestrians, more audience members who want to give it a shot.”
Reach Rachel Karas at [email protected]
On Twitter: @ RachelKaras3