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Westmont 6-year-old has the moves

Published: Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2013 5:15 p.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2013 5:21 p.m. CDT
Sarah Minor — Grace Kennedy (middle) and her classmates Natalie Cunningham (left), 8, and Giana Jackson (right), 6, lead their lines Thursday during tap dance class.

WESTMONT – After three years dancing at Expression Dance Studio in Westmont, Grace Kennedy has received a little recognition.

The 6-year-old is the studio’s Student of the Month for October.

Grace, who currently is enrolled in Thursday evening dance classes, said she’s kept up with dancing for a simple reason: it’s fun.

“I like ballet and tap,” she said. “Tap is my favorite because you do new moves everyday.” 

Expression Dance Studio, 21 W. Quincy St., employs 12 dance teachers and has about 400 students.

Grace is enrolled in tap but has taken ballet and hip-hop classes, as well. She said her favorite part of dance is the final number in her recital – the bow dance – even though she knows she won’t be dancing forever.

“I wanted to learn how to dance even though I’m not going to be that when I grow up,” she said. “I’m going to be a horse rider.”

Grace will always have the choice of whether she wants to continue dancing or not, according to her mother, Barb Kennedy.

“We started it out as just giving her something to do,” Barb Kennedy said. “And she just seemed to enjoy it so much. I always give her the choice if she wants to dance and she always does.”

Amber Alonzo, owner of Expression Dance Studio, said dance classes benefit children in many ways.

“It helps with their ability to educate themselves, with being able to learn from others, take initiative from others, direction and understanding,” Alonzo said. “[It helps with] their balance, their flexibility and putting everything all together is really beneficial for them, as well as being creative.”

Alonzo, who has been Grace’s teacher since day one, said awarding her student of the month is important to the studio and its students.

“[Grace] is a great student and she’s always learning, growing, developing and working super hard for me,” Alonzo said. “Grace was very, very shy but she definitely has come out of her shell and seeing her development in three years has been unbelievable.”

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