Dance camp has girls learning at a young age

By: Matt Long
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When Erin Vasconcellos thought about building the Oak Ridge dance team, she wanted to start young. Last week Vasconcellos held the first Oak Ridge dance camp that brought in 27 participants. The bigger group, which danced Tuesday through Thursday from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m., featured 18 girls from five to seven years old. Nine girls danced in the second daily session from 1 to 3 p.m. “This was our first year of the camp and I was very happy that we had as many kids as we had,” Vasconcellos said. “This is also a fundraiser for us and this will help us send our girls to competition.” Vasconcellos is entering her third year as Oak Ridge’s dance coach. After a rebuilding year last year on a team that featured only seven members, this year’s team will have 11 dancers. The team members helped coach the young girls during the camp. The young girls learned three different types of dance, including ballet, jazz and hip-hop and Vasconcellos said it was fairly even as to which form of dance the campers enjoyed the most. “We wanted to introduced the young girls to dance and get them interested in it,” Vasconcellos said. “We were doing some early recruiting. We’d figured there would be more of an interest with the younger girls. We wanted to bring Oak Ridge’s dance team into the community and at the same time have the community support us.” Vasconcellos is excited for the upcoming season. “Last year was a rebuilding year with only seven team members, as we were focused on the quality of our dancers over quantity. We had a fun year and it was really successful so I’m looking forward to this year.”