HipKick SJR Article
On a recent Tuesday evening, more than a dozen kids were jumping, dancing and kicking their way into better health rather then vegging out in front of a television or computer screen.
They were participating in, and by all counts enjoying, a session of HipKick, an innovative exercise and dance program developed by Amy Giles of Progressive Kenpo Karate and Tracey Sims of TurnOut Movement Arts Studio.
HipKick melds together martial arts movements and hip hop dance, along with some basic exercise techniques, as well as games and trampoline work.
"The kids love it," Giles said. "The classes are getting bigger and bigger. It's not a set program that involves a certain technique. It has lots of movement, punching and kicking, and they don't have any idea they are getting a lot of really good exercise."
Kristen Tonjes, 12, and her sister, Mallorie, 5, have come to three different sets of HipKick classes.
"Kristen saw a presentation at her school about the program, and she wanted me to bring her here," said her mother, Annette. "Her sister had to come, too.
"If they weren't doing this, they would be sitting at home playing video games. They look forward to this all week."
Shannon Allman said her 8-year-old daughter, Isabelle, started coming to HipKick with her friends and now wouldn't miss it.
"I think it's improved her coordination," Shannon Allman said. "She'd just be watching TV right now if she wasn't here."
"I think this is great — especially this time of year when there's no organized sports or outside activities they can be involved in," Michelle Bretscher said. Her daughters, Katy, 9, and Ellie, 8, were involved in a sort of kickball game involving large bean bags instead of balls.
Kava Trotter said her daughter, Dora, 8, also saw a presentation at school and had to come.
"She has older friends who take dance and do hip hop, and since this has some of that — she really enjoys it," Kava Trotter said.
"They run and play, dance and kick — it's good for them. It's certainly not like 'Sweatin' to the Oldies.'"
The mothers agreed the price was very pocketbook friendly. The 6-week classes cost $45, and children can choose one of three sessions during the week or attend as many as they want.
"There aren't any uniforms they have to buy; it's not like they can do it wrong," Sims said. "It's very non-judgmental, and if they learn to consistently exercise, now it will be so much easier as they get older."
Giles said she would love to do more work with physical education classes at schools.
"We had a great time when we were demonstrating the program," Giles said.
"I think it would be wonderful if something like this was implemented as part of a school curriculum."
Meanwhile, the moms have a request: "I would totally do this as an exercise program for adults," Michelle Bretscher said. "Can we have a coffee bar, too?" asked Shannon Allman.
Progressive Kenpo Karate and TurnOut Movement Arts Studio are located in the Laketown Shopping Plaza, 1824 Stevenson Drive.