Summer camp closes with dance and drum

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The debut of an innovative summer program, that blended arts with fitness, ended with the sound of drums and the sweep of dance.

In a July 2 program at the Holy Family Senior Center, the five-week Community Moving Education. Program, under the direction of retired New York City dancer and educator Frenchy Haynes, presented a glimpse of the array of programs that marked this intensive program, sponsored by CareerSource Gulf Coast, the Apalachicola Center for History, Culture and Art and the city of Apalachicola.

Opening with a Haynes-choreographed dance that accompanied a prayer that spoke to the Christian foundation of the community, the program lineup presented live performance of dance and drumming, and a video presentation of the varied activities that had marked the intensive program.

The video depicted a series of robust educational opportunities, led by artists in residence, from visual arts instructor Patricia Smith, from Carrabelle; to culinary arts teacher Chef Brett Gormley from Apalachicola; to photography instructor Mark Zimmerman, from Jacksonville; to gardening instructor Sarah Fowler, from Texas.

Plus there were photographic images of the volunteer efforts of baking instructor Myrtis Wynn, from Apalachicola; tennis instructor Carol Barfield, from Apalachicola; and sewing instructors Kate Clark, Gladys Gatlin and Molly Hill, from around Franklin County. A video of the elementary and middle-school aged youth on a fishing trip to Dr. Julian Bruce St. George Island State Park, led by fishing instructor Adron Wynn, was shared,

And of course there was plenty of live performance, taught by artists-in-residence Tiffani Austin, on West African dance; Leyland Simmons, who worked alongside Haynes with choreography; and Edward Dorman, who shared his knowledge of West African percussion.

It had been a faculty assembled by Haynes as well as HCA Chairman Valentina Webb and Director Merrill Livingston.

The dance company comprised Ja’Nya Bell, Maleah Bell, Kariyanna Bell, Zariah Harvey, Wendi Bernabe, Kingston Williams, Khambrel Anthony, Conner Lolley, Ally Francisco, Jazany Brown, Franco Francisco and Zion Washington.

One theme that emerged from the evening was the program’s focus on these boys and girls delving into their own identities, with such works as “Girls Pledge,” and “Pretty Hurts,” a rare opportunity for these young people to get in touch with their deepest sensitivities and struggles. The program also include a session on making safe and healthy decisions, part of the county health department’s Choices program, led by instructors Jessie Pippen and Talitha Lowery.

In addition to the dance company, those who took part in the program included Caroline Sterling, Amelia Wolferseder, Loni Burke, Layla Burke, Brysun McClusky, Micah Edwards, Tyle Morrison, Daisey Jimenez, Elisabeth Jimenez, Kristina Strahan, Charlotte Strahan, Maddie Lolley, Ayla Miller, Keagan Siprell, Nehemiah Robinson, Annika Jones, Wendi Bernabe, Marisol Bernabe, Bella Polous, Kaci Harrell, Jayla Creamer, Jazmyn Fant, Carleigh Williams, Marialicia Francisco, Rayne Watson, Maquise Penamon, Major Prince, Masijah Prince, and Maria Pedro.

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