Dance group offers message to children
The UH Child Care Center celebrated Black History Month with a dance.
Members of the urban dance troupe Twisted Elegance spent Friday afternoon leading children through a sequence of four steps that required them to point, spin and jump as the music from the stereo yelled, "It’s peanut-butter-jelly time."
For the group, founded in spring 2001, the event was an important way for children to learn about hip-hop and diversity.
"It’s being exposed to a different kind of dance form that’s also showing a different kind of culture," psychology junior and member Marissa Mouton said. "Martin Luther King Jr. wanted everyone to be informed by different cultures and to respect different cultures and different races."
By teaching the children hip-hop, Mouton feels King’s message is being taught.
Twisted Elegance, whose name is taken from a Janet Jackson phrase, consists of 10 student members, according to its Web site.
The group performs at a variety of events, from hair shows to basketball games and activities at the University.
The event at UHCCC, which was originally scheduled to commemorate Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, served as an introduction to hip-hop culture for the children. It was also a way to get them active.
"It’s wonderful for the kids to see real people up front dancing, because it encourages their own dance growth," said Stephanie Chapman, a counseling psychology doctoral student and parent.
Chapman, whose two sons Jacob and Marcus were in attendance, said she enjoyed the performance in honor of Black History Month.
"They really do a good job in kind of addressing our multicultural world and bringing it into everyday practice," she said.
It took a few run-throughs of the dance steps before the children, whose ages ranged from 3 months to 5 years, were ready to turn around and face their audience in the courtyard at the UHCCC.
Afterward, Twisted Elegance treated the children with a hip-hop performance of their own.
"I think the group, Twisted Elegance, was really good. I saw how the kids were reacting to it and they really did enjoy it," Brian Miller, the office coordinator for the UHCCC, said.
Members of the non-profit group have won many awards for their performances, including two from UH’s Strut Your Stuff Homecoming talent show and one from a BET freestyle dance battle. For more information on Twisted Elegance, visit www.uh.edu/tedance