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Families across Central Alabama flock to Homewood for a day of dance

Larry O. Gay Photography

Birmingham residents are visiting Homewood this Saturday to learn ballet, jazz and other modern dance techniques. The FILES Arts Project is hosting its first Day of Dance at the Homewood Community Center from 10 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. on Saturday, July 8.

The event will feature four dance classes for groups of all ages, including:

The FILES Arts Project

  • Artful Aging Movement Class: 10 to 11 a.m. for groups aged 40 years and older
  • Community Dance Class: 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m., open level and open to beginners of all ages
  • Children Ballet and Horton Class: 1 to 2:45 p.m. for children aged 7 to 15 years old
  • Adult Ballet and Horton Class: 3 to 4:45 p.m. for groups aged 16 years and older 

All four classes are open to any resident and visitor in Central Alabama. However, the children and adult ballet classes do require some prior dancing knowledge and experience. All classes are also fitness-based with exercises designed to reach all parts of the body, from the top of the head to the bottom of the feet.

Kat Files is the founder of The FILES Arts Project and creator of Day of Dance. She has experience teaching several groups of dancers, including in EMERGE125, a Harlem-based dance company, and the Ailey Arts in Education & Community Programs, where she teaches dancers aged 60 years and older. However, this is Files’ first time ever teaching dancers in the Magic City.

Larry O. Gay Photography

“Something that I’m very excited to have is being able to bring my teaching to Birmingham and to just get feedback from our participants here,” she said. “I know what to expect in New York, but because I have not taught classes in Birmingham and the surrounding communities, I’m excited to introduce them to these types of classes here.”

Files said Birmingham residents requested family-inclusive dance classes for several months, but the organization was not prepared to offer them at that time. Now that Day of Dance is here, Files said she believes this event will strengthen the bond between families and their children.

“It really brings everyone in the family together,” she said. “These classes can allow your parents, your siblings, your aunts and uncles [and] your grandparents to attend and to get active. Our goal is to truly get everyone moving, not just the dancers of the family.”

Day of Dance also commemorates The FILES Arts Project’s 10-year anniversary. Files said the nonprofit’s goal is to offer arts education opportunities to traditionally underserved communities in Central Alabama and that Day of Dance strongly supports this endeavor.

“Arts education is not always affordable, accessible or inclusive,” she said. “That is the goal behind all of the programs that we have. Our goal is to truly bring all of the communities together. I am a Homewood native and attended the Alabama School of Fine Arts, which is in Birmingham. We have students, and I have family members, who are from all over the state. That is really our mission to make sure we’re including all of those communities.”

Ultimately, Files said she hopes anyone interested in dancing or simply trying something attends this weekend.

“If you’ve never tried dance before, or if you’re interested and you just want to see what it’s about, come and try it,” she said. “If it’s not for you, that’s fine, but to say that you’ve done something you thought about is our goal. If you could do that, that would help us reach our goal. It would make our hearts very happy.”

Admission for all four dance classes is free, but residents should RSVP by visiting The FILES Arts Project’s website and filling out the admissions form. Residents will be asked to provide their name, phone number, email address and class or classes of interest.

Joshua LeBerte is a news intern for Alabama Public Radio.
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