Story #3 – Dance Builds Community by Cherie Hill
In 2011 Marcia moved to the Bay Area from Wisconsin with her husband and two daughters. Intimidated by Oakland’s massive population, Marcia worried that her family would not fit in or find the tight knit community they had experienced before. At her local park, Marcia ran into a former Luna Dance MPACT teacher who encouraged her to take Luna’s free family dance class at the West Oakland Library.
On a cold and windy day, Marcia, her husband and two daughters bundled up and headed out for their first MPACT (Moving Parents and Children Together) dance class. Though shy at first, Marcia’s family broke out of their shell, leaping, turning and dancing full out. They continued attending weekly classes and the bond between them deepened into taking greater risks in movement. They jumped into the following session at Lotus Bloom and began to form long-term friendships.
Four families hug, kiss, and hold hands, greeting each other before class.
Shaky arms, shaky legs, and shaky gallops fill the room.
Children and parents create shapes to move over, under, around and through.
The energy breams with feelings of joy, love, security and comfort.
With each class the communal bond between Marcia’s family and three other families blossomed into play dates, babysitting-swaps, and eventually the formation of a cooperative preschool. From West Oakland Library to Lotus Bloom, then to Cesar Chavez Library and 81st Ave., each of these families followed MPACT classes when they were offered by Luna.
I spoke to Marcia, recently, and she told me that without the community created by MPACT for over three years, she and her family would have been lost in Oakland. Marcia is just one of many parents who share with me how significant MPACT classes are in building trust and community. Parents and children find MPACT a safe and nurturing place to play and dance together–increasing confidence in each dancing participant, enhancing the immediate parent and child relationship, and invigorating a sense of unity that carries on outside of the dance room.