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Summer of Dance
GECAC campers compete in beach-inspired dance-off
Give Every Child AChance staff member Kaitlyn Houston (right) leads a group of dancers during the summer camp dance-off on Thursday at Sequoia Elementary School. - photo by HIME ROMERO

Youngsters of the Give Every Child A Chance Summer Camp spent a portion of the past few weeks learning dances influenced by Disney Channel’s popular “Teen Beach Movie.”

They came from the four GECAC sites – Banta, Ripon, French Camp and Sequoia – to compete in a dance-off on Thursday.

 “All of our students were taught the same dance and also performed it together as one collaborative event,” said Unaiza Furqan, who is the After School program director.

They learned the moves from one of the best in Harmony Flores, who not only teaches dance but competitive cheer. She’s the owner and operator of the Dance Star studio in Manteca; Flores is contracted out by GECAC to do dance activities with students of the After School Program.

“I’m so busy during the school year that I rely on my staff to go to each of the sites,” Flores said.

Summer’s a different story.

 “I actually got to work with students,” she said. “I enjoyed it, especially teaching those who have never danced. This is exercise but in a fun way.”

More than 300 took part in the summer camp event held at Sequoia School’s Multi-Purpose Building, with the youngsters ranging in age from kindergarten to eighth grade.

“Even the boys enjoyed doing dances,” said Flores.

Many came dressed for the occasion in beach wear, leis, and grass skirts, moving to surfing music and other rock-and-roll tunes.

Serving as judges were GECAC officials Carol Davis, Chuck Crutchfield and Christine Keefhaver. They looked at how students grasped the routines, how they moved, and if they got into the spirit of the event.

In the end, Banta took first place with Sequoia taking second.

As an added bonus, Sequoia students choreographed a dance from Disney’s Lilo & Stitch under the direction of volunteer Larissa Ford, who will soon enter Manteca High as a freshman.

“We had a lot of fun with this one,” she said.