Dance teacher brings passion of ‘another language’ to elementary school students

Certified dance teacher Stephanie Lokinger is offering classes to two groups of students at King George Community School over their lunch breaks. (Stephanie Lokinger/Twitter)

“Dance is good for everybody. It offers so much in terms of musical literacy, poetry, communication.” – Stephanie Lokinger

A Prince Albert dance teacher is bringing the art form to King George Community School to foster self-confidence and creativity.

Stephanie Lokinger started as an education associate at the elementary school last year working with students on the autism spectrum.

In April, she started the No Limits Dance Team. She offers dance classes to students over the lunch hour, providing a creative, physical activity as an alternative to joining a sports team.

Lokinger is continuing the initiative again this school year, and hopes the school’s love for dance only grows.

“It’s another language, and they can use that to express themselves. Dance is everywhere right now and it’s alive and so accessible through their screens,” she said.

“I like that these kids can be part of a live class where they can work with each other and we do have those conversations and we do create the poems through movement.”

Lokinger offers a class for students in grades two to four and another for grades five to eight. The younger class currently consists of 15 dancers and there’s eight dancers in the older group.

She explained she teaches general movement and basic skills, inspired by contemporary, jazz and hip hop styles.

“Of course, I’ve got to slip in a little bit of classical technique because ballet’s my favourite,” she said.

The first part of the classes are dedicated to teaching these techniques and the second part focuses on choreography. Lokinger has teamed up with the school’s music instructors, allowing the dancers to perform at school events like Christmas concerts and talent shows.

“It’s an art. Dance is good for everybody. It offers so much in terms of musical literacy, poetry, communication, and they’re getting all of that through dance,” emphasized Lokinger.

“I hope the kids develop a love for dance and use it to explore other performing arts throughout their lives. It’s a great avenue to deal with emotions, being human and everything life throws at them.”

She said she notices positive changes in the students when they’re dancing.

“They get a sense of pride and you can see that they feel good about themselves. I can see their confidence grow. You see some of the shy ones who maybe aren’t as interested in the sports games; you can see that this is something they really enjoy,” said Lokinger.

“(Dance) is my life.”

Lokinger has been teaching dance for 14 years, certified by the Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) and Associated Dance Arts for Professional Teachers (ADAPT). She’s trained in a number of styles, including ballet, lyrical, jazz, hip hop and acrobatics. She also is currently working with the Broadway North Theatre Company and Youth Company to choreograph their shows.