YMCA of Greater Erie

The following was written by Glenwood Park YMCA Dance instructor Alexa Phelps

The Glenwood YMCA has hopped the gap for many lives through the dance program. As an Erie native and longtime dancer, I have always sought to spread my love of dance with children in our area.  In September of 2011, I walked through the doors of the Glenwood YMCA and proposed the idea of a dance program. Thanks to Michele Schroeck, who approved my proposal and gave me a chance to dance with the children of the Glenwood YMCA, we have been ever since hopping, or rather leaping, the gap.

Personally, this experience has helped me to hop my own gaps, in terms of teaching experience and growth. As an avid dancer and aspiring teacher, who was going into her second year of college at the time, sharing my love of dance with the children of the Glenwood YMCA helped me to develop a very strong confidence and classroom management style. Over the last four (going on five) years, I have taught children ages three to 18, and adults. I have been thoroughly satisfied with my career of teaching dance at the Y, and I look forward to many more years. Looking back, as a now second-year English teacher and 12-year dance teacher, I can honestly say the Y has played such a momentous role in my life, and helped to strengthen my career path of teaching.

Additionally, allowing this program to soar has hopped many gaps for the children of the Glenwood YMCA. Children and teens have had the opportunities to take ballet, jazz, hip hop, contemporary, Irish, and cheerleading. Each step taken has allowed these children to express themselves passionately, through the beautiful art of dancing.  They have also had the experiences of taking workshops, intensives, clinics, and summer camps.  All of my classes have had the opportunity to perform a routine in front of their friends and families, and the Glenwood YMCA has held three full recitals thus far, giving children and teens the opportunity to develop stage presence and perform all of their hard work for familiar faces. Cheerleaders have also had the opportunities to cheer at live flag football and soccer games, through the Glenwood YMCA sports leagues.  A lot of parents have commented on how thankful they are for the opportunity to have their children in dance, and it has made me, as the instructor, feel so inspirational and accomplished.

The Glenwood YMCA has helped many children, instructors, and families, especially through exploration of the art of dance, by leaps and bounds. The Glenwood YMCA has definitely made an impact of the lives of many, and I am very excited to see how many more gaps we hop, as we continue to dance through the many stages of life.