Vail Today: Celebrate the Beat celebrates kids | VailDaily.com

Vail Today: Celebrate the Beat celebrates kids

By Tricia Swenson | Vail Today

During the Vail Dance Festival, audiences are treated to several new works, premiers and collaborations that only happen here. Celebrate the Beat is an example of brining individuals together to create something amazing by showcasing the youngsters dancing on stage.

In a short amount of time – three hours a day for five days to be exact – 120 kids ages 8 to 14 are brought together to learn a routine that will be debuted on the big stage. These kids will be the opening act for the International Evenings of Dance on Friday, Aug. 4 at the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater.

How do you keep the attention of that many teens and tweens during rehearsals? Celebrate the Beat engages every single child emotionally, physically, intellectually and psychologically by employing extremely effective teaching techniques such as choosing leaders of excellence or having small groups demonstrate.

The class is fast paced so the children can't think about anything other than the task at hand. "What a gift that is, to be engaged so fully. One of the life skills I am most proud to teach is how to focus and that trying your best at what you are doing is the most joyful way to live," said Tracy Straus, founder and artistic director of Celebrate the Beat.

The Vail Dance Festival and Vail Valley Foundation has partnered with Celebrate the Beat for the last 10 years by sponsoring their Pop Hop summer camp. "We treasure Damian's support and our partnership with the Festival. I am extremely proud of the fact that 10 years ago we had 5 children enroll and now 120 kids fight to be part of Pop Hop. This growth is a result of our program being embraced by ten schools in the valley," said Straus.

The kids will get to perform alongside professional tap dancer Bill Irwin and their act also incorporates with work of artists Pablo Picasso and Marc Chagall. Visit http://www.ctbeat.org and http://www.vaildance.org to learn more.