TUNKHANNOCK — After her first-ever dance class last week, 3-year-old Ayla Comstock happily told her mom how she and a dozen other little girls “danced like butterflies and played with a ball.”
“She is really into pretending to be a ballerina at home,” Amber Comstock, of Dallas, said the next day as she waited for her daughter to finish her second class. “I thought we should come here and see what it’s like.”
It remains to be seen whether Ayla or any of the other 2 and 3-year-olds who attended a two-day “Dance, Dance, Dance” program at the Dietrich Theater last week will someday become the next “Great Pavlova” or Derek Hough.
But on Monday and Tuesday, they seemed to have fun as they “hopped like a bunny” and “marched in baby circles” and “walked on tippy toes,” as directed by Judy Weist and Sarah Grigalunas from Stage Door Dance Studio of Tunkhannock.
Weist also frequently led the little dancers in a round of applause, urging them to clap for themselves because they had obeyed her instructions.
“We have them follow sequences, follow instructions and take turns,” Weist said after the class. “We stress being kind to each other.”
Stage Door Dance Studio has offered free, two-day introductions to creative movement at the Dietrich Theater every summer for the past few years, and the class for 2 and 3-year olds attracts more participants than the classes for older children, Dietrich executive director Erica Rogler said.
“This is ‘back and forth’ music,” Weist told the tykes, swaying from side to side as a recording of “Old MacDonald Had A Farm” began to play.
“This is slow music,” she said as “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” set the tone for the youngsters to dance lightly with toy wands in hand.
The children could keep the wands, Weist said, reminding them: “When you play at home, you’re not going to run with the wand, and you’re not going to poke anyone.”
The star-topped wands were a popular part of the program, according to 3-year-old Verity Zieger, of Factoryville, who held hers out to a bystander who asked what she had liked best about the class.
The soul-satisfying rattle of maracas was another crowd-pleaser, soothing one or two little dancers who found the class a cause for tears.
And, for some participants, the chance to dress like a ballerina, from hair in a bun to slippers on their feet, made the experience all the more memorable.
“She was looking through her toy box this morning,” Sarah Falcone, of Dallas, said of 3-year-old Lena. “She said, ‘I have to have my ballet shoes.’”