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CCAC expands classes to offer dance

By Christie Slocum

 E’lisha Simmons

E’lisha Simmons

The Colleton County Arts Council is now expanding their classes to include dance. E’lisha Simmons is the owner and principal dance instructor of One Step At A Time. Since 2000, Simmons has had a dance studio in Charleston, South Carolina. She is originally from New York City and began her dance training while in Middle School. She attended the High School of Performing Arts in New York and was trained through The Alvin Ailey and Dance Theater of Harlem. She has trained in styles of Ballet, Jazz, Modern, Hip Hop and African dance. At the age of 14, Simmons served as an assistant dance instructor for Robert Clemente State Park and co-choreographer in Bronx, New York. It was at this time she realized not only how much she loved to dance but she also loved to teach dance. She began establishing dance classes in the most at-risk neighborhoods in New York City serving over 100 youths per summer. She has been teaching dance for over 30 years. On top of teaching dance, Simmons also currently works at the Medical University of South Carolina as the Manager of Recruitment and Diversity Education. She also serves as the recruiter for the College of Medicine. She has a Masters in Public Administration and is a PhD candidate in Public Administration and Leadership.

The Colleton County Arts Council along with Ms. Simmons will hold open registration through March 1, 2014. Classes are held on Wednesday evenings and Saturday mornings for children ages 3-17. For children who have already registered, classes have begun. So far 22 children are enrolled. Each week the students learn a different technique. The first week, Ballet; the second week, Jazz/ Modern; the third week STEP class and the fourth week will be a combination of techniques and Choreography.

The students who have already started and their parents all seemed very excited with what they learned at their first lesson. The 3 to 7 year old students took a foundation ballet class and learned the 1st and 2nd position, plie’ (bending of the knees) and releves’ (standing on the balls of their feet). The older class took a foundation ballet class and modern movement class. Simmons says “The classes on Wednesday went extremely well. I was extremely pleased by the energy and how quickly they learned the combination.”

Alongside Ms. Simmons are her eldest daughter Andrea Johnson- Coffey and her youngest daughter Kai-Renay Scott. Johnson- Coffey will serve as the Hip-Hop instructor and Scott is the company’s administrator. “It has always been a family business. Now I have the honor to train my granddaughters, Destiny-Renay and Genesis and teach my grandsons, Isaiah, Keyson and MJ, how to manage a business.

Tuition starts at $25.00 a month and classes are being held in the dance studio at Colleton Center on Hampton Street. For more information on how to register, you can call 888-428-2466 extension 801, or email Ms. Simmons at OSAATCreative@gmail.com.

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