Toddler dance class prepares for Peter Pan

Thursday, January 28, 2010 | 7:40 p.m. CST; updated 4:44 p.m. CST, Friday, January 29, 2010
Jessica Coner, 4, glances at the mirror while doing an arabesque with Barney the Bear, alongside her instructor Hallie Rainwater. Jessica, who has been dancing for a year, is a student in the Creative Movement class for three and four year olds at Dancearts of Columbia.

Hallie Rainwater teaches the Creative Movement class for 3- to 4-year-olds at Dancearts of Columbia. Having worked there as an instructor since 1992, she's accustomed to competing with the sounds of younger siblings crying or parents chatting outside the door — though it takes more than noise to damper teaching her "little ones."

"I want them to be exposed to dance — to learn the format of a dance class, and improve coordination and listening skills — and to have fun," Rainwater says.

On Thursday, Rainwater has begun teaching "I Won't Grow Up," a selection from the class's upcoming May performance of "Peter Pan." After warm-ups that include the chicken dance, walking in a circle like robots and dinosaurs, and deciding what color butterfly each student would be while stretching, the Peter Pan festivities begin.   

"It's our big spring recital," Rainwater says.

Sophia Creach, 3, dances with her classmates during the Creative Movement class for three and four year olds at Dancearts of Columbia on Thursday.
Parker Rainwater, 3, stands off to the side as his mother and instructor Hallie Rainwater instructs the rest of the class, who are all girls. Parker will play the role of Peter Pan, and the other students will play 'lost girls,' in their Creative Movement class' recital piece this May, which Rainwater began teaching Thursday morning.

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