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McLaughlin Dance Collective dances it up as yearly Books in Motion program comes to a close

There is one dancer on the Books in Motion stage who used to be in the audience.
McLaughlin Dance Collective
Posted at 12:09 PM, Aug 25, 2023
and last updated 2023-08-25 15:14:00-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — The Kern Dance Alliance has finished up its seventh annual Books in Motion program, made to improve literacy in Kern County through dance.

The final Books in Motion dance team, school, or studio to step into the spotlight this year was McLaughlin Dance Collective, which has one dancer on the Books in Motion stage who used to be in the audience.

“My son, who started watching Books in Motion when he was three, is now going to be in our performance this year, our live performance at the library”, said Kristen McLaughlin, Artistic Director of McLaughlin Dance Collective.

“It’s just so fun to teach the kids all the dance," said her son, Henry. "It’s just really fun.”

Henry is one of the smallest dancers at McLaughlin Dance Collective, yet he has one of the biggest personalities

“Just really good," said Henry when he was asked what it was like to go from being an audience member to a performer. "I felt like I’m now really part of the Books in Motion. I feel like I’m just really part of it now."

Kristen says that since reading is being portrayed through choreography, learning to read becomes an easier challenge.

“I have an eight-year-old who is just on the other side of learning to read," she explained. "I have done a lot of research on how to teach a child, to redesign his homeschool. The hands-on way of learning adds so much for a child.”

“To take a story and to make it have physical movement and have music and have them be able to get up and move to it not only excites them about a story and then trying to read it, but it also works so many parts of the brain. It creates learning faster.”

By bringing the books to life, children can experience the story and even learn the dance, which the group says is their favorite part of the program.

“My favorite part about Books in Motion is being able to teach the kids to dance," said Taylor Weiner, a dancer with the collective. "It is so fun to see them come walking up with smiles on their face and just being able to learn something that I enjoy to learn too.”

“Teaching the kids the dance is so fun, especially because you get to incorporate reading with it," said Sophie Baeza, another dancer. "As a personal reader, I love reading and I think it’s really cool that we get to dance and encourage them to read as well.”

With the McLaughlin Dance Collective, the Books in Motion program has finished another year.

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