Dance instructor brings unique classes to the Ligonier Valley YMCA
A new Caribbean-inspired youth dance class is being offered at the Ligonier Valley YMCA Instructor Nerissa McCollin combines a mixture of contemporary, Afro-Caribbean, ballet, hip-hop and Pilates in her Creative Movements dance class, which began last week.
The class is scheduled to take place every Saturday morning for the next eight weeks, beginning at 9:30 a.m. for children ages 4 and 5, and 10:45 a.m. for ages 6-12. This is the second session of the class.
“We look to offer youth the ability to learn creative movement through different dance disciplines they may not normally see in the area,” said Senior Program Director, Jeremiah Wagner, “Nerissa's classes have proved to be just the new opportunity the YMCA was looking to provide in a dance program.”
As a child growing up on the twin Caribbean islands of Trinidad and Tobago, Nerissa McCollin was involved in many creative activities – dancing, singing, acting, playing the steel drums and more. She began dancing at age 4 with the Lilliput Theatre group, where she studied techniques in modern dance and ballet.
“I was very passionate about my craft from an early age,” McCollin, now 22, said, “The performing arts are one thing that I could do that may seem stressful to others, but to me was a form of relaxation.” McCollin has performed in a Miss Universe competition and twice danced for Prince Charles during his visits to Trinidad and Tobago.
In 2009, McCollin moved to the United States to attend college. Having an aunt who lives in Pennsylvania, McCollin said helped in her decision to move specifically to this area. After being accepted to several schools, McCollin decided on St Vincent College in Latrobe, where she is currently a senior liberal arts major with a biology concentration and mathematics minor. Additionally, she is president of the St Vincent College dance team.
In her first class of the winter session, McCollin introduced the students to some of the different steps and stretching techniques they will utilize in the end of the session recital that she will choreograph for them. The girls listened to Soca, a style of music native to the islands that is a blend of traditional calypso and classical Indian music.
“I like to dance with her,” Haleigh Knier, 7 of Rector, said of her classes with McCollin. Knier attended the first session and is now enrolled in the second.
“She's really good with the kids,” said Haleigh's mother, Beth Knier, “She takes her time with them and picks up when one needs help and she spends time with individual girls as they need it. Nerissa is also really amazing at keeping their attention.” Knier said her daughter is attending the class as a way to learn dance basics.
McCollin said she is willing to teach any age group, but she enjoys working with children and hopes that dance can become a constructive outlet for them.
Upon graduation, McCollin plans to attend a 2-year performing arts program in New York. She then would like to go to graduate school and work as a physical therapist for dancers.
Cami DiBattista is a freelance 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.
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.