Vandergrift dance studio adds faith to fundamentals
At Recruiters for God Ministries Dance Studio, learning means more than perfecting complicated moves or keeping time with the music.
That's because the Vandergrift dance studio is focused not only on the fundamentals of dance but also the fundamentals of faith.
The nondenominational Christian effort was founded with the idea in mind that dance can serve as a powerful witness of faith and also positively impact the lives of the group's young dancers.
“I like the idea that not only do I get to do what I love but I can have God show through me,” says 16-year-old Trey Gibson, a student and dance instructor at the studio.
That's just what director Nikki Bailey had in mind when she started the program about a year ago.
“I just had the idea of dancing for Jesus,” she says. “We're structured, but we're also like family if the kids need it. We're kind of like mentors to those kids.”
It's also the general public that the group reaches out to through performances at local events, according to assistant director Joe Hesketh.
“It's more than just a dance studio,” he says. “We go out into the community and minister to it.”
The program — which teaches students contemporary dance moves using Christian rap and hip-hop music — offers them the chance to participate in as many classes as they want for an affordable rate.
Doing so was key for Bailey, who had worked as a dance instructor previously.
“I'd see these kids come in and they'd love it and they'd leave,” she says. “And, it was because they couldn't pay for it.”
She came up with a way to change that by offering a monthly membership rate, $20 for individuals and $35 for a family membership.
The opportunity has been well-received. Within six months from when Bailey began offering classes, there were so many students she had to move to the Washington Avenue studio it now calls home.
Bailey's 13-year-old son, Chandler Bailey, an experienced dancer, teaches classes, too. At times, the studio's approach is a laid-back one.
“It's kind of just a place where you can be free; there are not really strict rules,” he says. “It's fun and free.”
Using music from Christian acts like rapper TobyMac and hip-hop artist Lecrae, the classes of Bailey and her fellow instructors help students learn the right moves not only when dancing but also navigating through the rest of their lives.
“Not many have been exposed to Christian music,” she says. “When we do the songs, I'll break it down and explain them.”
Doing so has been a positive experience for students like 11-year-old Deja Talton.
“I feel it's a good experience dancing for God, instead of doing bad things,” says the Vandergrift Elementary student.
“If you're having a bad day and you're there, it takes things off your mind.”
The positive impact is apparent to organizers, as well. The students, Hesketh says, display a newfound stability that he attributes to the message behind the studio's efforts.
“It's not just about the dance,” he says. “It's about the music and the words behind it.”
Julie Martin is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Harrison woman dead in 3-car crash in Natrona Heights
- Armstrong County to try Welshman on indecent assault, related charges
- Stretch of Freeport Road rezoned
- Kiski Area sells school building
- New Kensington officials eager to demolish 3 fire-ravaged buildings
- Allegheny Valley board reduces transfer to $1.5M
- Fawn fugitive Filous captured, jailed
- Sears at Pittsburgh Mills mall in Frazer closing in January
- Cookies for Our Troops marches on
- Most wanted fugitive caught in New Kensington
- Oakmont Council meeting becomes heated