HARLINGEN — They swung their shoulders back and forth in rhythm to the song. “Ready, set, hip swing,” said Yessica Mendoza, 15, as she taught the young girls some new dance and cheer moves. “I added some moves and it’s going great,” said Yessica, junior staff member at the Boys and Girls Clubs of Harlingen.
She and Zena Arucena were teaching about 50 girls some new moves at a three-day camp that began Monday. The Cheer and Dance Camp at the Main Unit of the Boys and Girls Clubs is one of many camps and programs being offered this summer.
“We have been doing the cheer camp for about 20 years, but we decided to introduce dance,” said Hilda Gathright, director of the LeMoyne Gardens Unit.
Both Zena and Yessica came from LeMoyne to give the camp.
“Reach down across, reach down across, clap one two three,” Zena called out, her students following her moves by stretching their arms upward then down before slapping hands loudly together.
Zena was working with girls in grades five through nine.
“I am teaching a dance that I made up,” Zena said. “It’s a cheer dance I learned from when I was in cheerleading. It’s going really good.”
The girls seemed to be having a blast.
“I love it,” said Adriana Okoiruele, 10.
“We’re learning what a ripple is,” she added.
“That’s where one group goes down and then another group,” added her friend Daniela Terron, 11.
She liked having something to do with other kids.
“I have never done anything with a lot of girls,” Daniela said. “I love dancing.”
Adriana agreed “I like that I get to hang out with my friends,” she said.
The girls’ enthusiasm extended beyond the class.
“I really like it when some girls in the afternoon say, ‘It’s practice time,’” Zena said. “That makes me happy because they want to learn something.”