National Dance Day gets community moving

Special to Leader-Press

Two steps to the left, two steps to the right, clap, muscle man pose, turn and salsa. These were the dance steps that Ms. Copperas Cove Five Hills Ashley Coombs called out in a dance room filled with students ranging in age from 2-32 at GymKix’s National Dance Day.
“Everybody learns the same dance all over nation and we are all dancing at the same time,” Coombs said. “There are two different dances we offer, one which is an easier style to get people up and moving. The second is more advanced, for those who may have some experience with dance.”
Coombs, who is also the GymKix Director of Operations and has taught dance for nearly two decades, taught the free dance lessons and often teaches free dance lessons at various schools in CCISD. 
National Dance day began nine years ago when “So You Think You Can Dance” judge Nigel Lythgoe wanted to raise awareness of dance. The event is held the last Saturday in July. GymKix has participated for eight years. 
While Coombs was busy in the dance studio, her sister royalty were busy running the various activity stations including the temporary tattoo parlor, stamping prize cards, and welcoming guests to the shopping area.  It is the fifth year that the titleholders have given their time to make the event a success, said GymKix owner Stephanie Beveridge.
“The Five Hills Royalty never cease to amaze us. The generosity, professionalism, and energy of these fine ladies and gentleman bring so much poise to our city,” Beveridge said. “GymKix is always delighted and appreciative of their volunteer work at our events.”
GymKix has served as a presenting sponsor of the local scholarship pageant since its inception five years ago.  Coombs community service platform as Ms. Five Hills is involving at-risk youth in extra-curricular activities.  Coombs and former pageant ambassador Edith Natividad are planning the inaugural Copperas Cove Multi-Cultural Festival on Sept. 22 at Ogletree Gap Preserve.  All proceeds from the event will benefit Communities in Schools to pay fees for students to take lessons in art, dance, sports, gymnastics or any extra-curricular activity about which they are passionate. 
“Having worked with children of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds for over 18 years, I have seen first-hand how important it is for them to be involved in activities outside of school. Organized activities can help build children’s skills, self-esteem, and social skills, as well as enhance their brain development and physical well-being,” Coombs said. “There are very consistent findings that children who are physically active do better in school. Children who are more active show a higher attention span, have a faster cognitive processing speed, and perform better on standardized tests than children who are less active.”

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