“One, two, cha-cha-cha!”

Dozens of children and their parents followed that command Saturday afternoon, shaking to the sounds of “Treasure” by Bruno Mars in the GymKix dance studio in Copperas Cove.

They were in good company as similar gatherings were held across the nation to commemorate National Dance Day.

National Dance Day was first introduced in 2010 by Nigel Lythgoe, a creator of the TV show “So You Think You Can Dance” and co-president of the Dizzy Feet Foundation.

The event was endorsed by Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, who introduced a resolution that the last Saturday in July be reserved for the event nationwide.

In Copperas Cove, instructor Ashley Coombs led the first two dances, giving the instructions loud and clear to ensure her students could hear over the music and each other. A third dance was taught by fellow teacher Mo Vasquez. The instructors learned the routine from internet videos posted by the event founders.

Several parents and children said the boisterous, energetic instruction was typical of Coombs and the school. One mother, Susanne Ayers, whose two daughters have been in the program for a few weeks, said that one feels the inclusive energy “the minute you walk in the door.”

She and another mother, Christina Rivera, whose daughter Nevaeh has attended the school for two years, emphasized the sense of community amongst the attendees, using the words “family-friendly.”

Coombs and Stephanie Beveridge, the executive director of programs, said it was the first time GymKix had participated in National Dance Day.

Coombs said they believed the activity would be perfect for children in the summer and give them an activity to keep them stimulated while school is not in session.

Beveridge, a nutritionist who holds wellness classes on Fort Hood, also said the event emphasizes health.

Herald/Rachel Kaser

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