From dance hall to dojo


Not your ordinary gym class

By Jeremy Erskine - jerskine@civitasmedia.com



Students in Eaton’s lifetime fitness class learn how to ballroom dance during their class period on Monday, Feb. 29.


Jeremy Erskine | The Register-Herald

Don Caponigro from Family Martial Arts & Fitness in downtown Eaton teaches basic self-defense skills to students in Eaton’s lifetime fitness during their class period on Wednesday, March 2.


Jeremy Erskine | The Register-Herald

Amanda Horn, an Eaton alumna, leads a group of Eaton students in basic ballroom dance steps during their class period on Monday, Feb. 29.


Jeremy Erskine | The Register-Herald

EATON — And one, and two, and one, and two.

That’s not typically a phrase heard inside the walls of a high school gym class, but at Eaton, it has become a common part of the curriculum.

Physical education teachers Scott Burnett and Joe Ferriell teach lifetime fitness classes, where they bring in different types of activities for their students to learn.

“We like to do activities that are things the kids can do the rest of their life — and it can benefit them the rest of their life,” said Burnett.

The class has done individual sports such as ping pong or badminton, but the teachers also wanted to teach a few long-lasting skills as well.

Thus entered both Amanda Horn, an instructor at the Arthur Murray Dance Center in Dayton and former Eaton alumna, and Don Caponigro, owner of Family Martial Arts & Fitness in Eaton.

The two joined the class last week to get the students out of their comfort zones and teach them a thing or two in the process.

Horn graduated from Eaton in 2003 and only began dancing three years ago, but was happy to share her new-found love with other Eagles.

“I think when you are young you don’t realize how useful (dancing) can be. But in the future, they are going to do it at homecoming, they are going to do it at prom, they are going to do it at weddings. Anywhere there is a hardwood floor, you’ll be able to use it,” she said. “It’s such a great skill to have so you don’t have to be a wallflower.”

She, along with another dance instructor, spent the class periods teaching ballroom dancing and bringing several students out of their shells. She said the younger classes were more apprehensive (“Ew, your palms are sweaty!”) but overall, the students responded positively to learning the routines.

“It’s nice to see them do something that they’ve never done before and having fun doing it,” said Ferriell.

Caponigro joined the class later in the week, teaching self-defense and the benefits of martial arts along with personal health, eating right, and dealing with stress.

“It’s fun with the kids. A lot of them think they are invincible, so they don’t really take it too seriously. I try to stress to them how serious it could be if it was a life or death situation,” he said. “They are very responsive to it — they are very open to it, and they are having fun with it.”

While not every student will go out and take up dancing or martial arts, both Burnett and Ferriell hope that it opens up many students to different opportunities.

“They are so set in what they’ve done in their whole lives that anything different that they’ve never given a shot is not something they want to do,” said Ferriell. “Hopefully by doing the dancing and martial arts, it will show them that there are other activities they can do. So when they get out of high school and can’t play football and basketball – the sports you need 11 or 10 people to play – this will hopefully give them opportunities to go out and try a new activity that they can do for the rest of their life.”

Students in Eaton’s lifetime fitness class learn how to ballroom dance during their class period on Monday, Feb. 29.
http://registerherald.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/web1_DSC_0897.jpgStudents in Eaton’s lifetime fitness class learn how to ballroom dance during their class period on Monday, Feb. 29. Jeremy Erskine | The Register-Herald

Don Caponigro from Family Martial Arts & Fitness in downtown Eaton teaches basic self-defense skills to students in Eaton’s lifetime fitness during their class period on Wednesday, March 2.
http://registerherald.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/web1_IMG_1161.jpgDon Caponigro from Family Martial Arts & Fitness in downtown Eaton teaches basic self-defense skills to students in Eaton’s lifetime fitness during their class period on Wednesday, March 2. Jeremy Erskine | The Register-Herald

Amanda Horn, an Eaton alumna, leads a group of Eaton students in basic ballroom dance steps during their class period on Monday, Feb. 29.
http://registerherald.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/web1_DSC_0954.jpgAmanda Horn, an Eaton alumna, leads a group of Eaton students in basic ballroom dance steps during their class period on Monday, Feb. 29. Jeremy Erskine | The Register-Herald
Not your ordinary gym class

By Jeremy Erskine

jerskine@civitasmedia.com

Reach Jeremy at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @jerskine_RH.

Reach Jeremy at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @jerskine_RH.

comments powered by Disqus