The buzz downtown in Riverbank was a sight and sound that has been missing since COVID-19 hit. Families and friends surrounded the Plaza del Rio park downtown on Wednesday evening, Nov. 4 to enjoy a performance from the Hip Hop class presented by Instructor Stephanie Argumedo with Riverbank Parks and Recreation Department.
“It has been too long,” said Argumedo regarding the last time she instructed a class. “COVID hit; everything was closed for kid, even school. It is so sad that they had to go through that and even the young ones they don’t really know what is going on yet. Once they told me I could do something outside, Hip Hop just came to my mind. I was like let me bring it back and see how it goes.”
The day before class was going to start there were only a couple of participants signed up but the first day of class there were 14 kids on the roster. The boys and girls were between the ages of 6 to 12.The dance class began in October and they practiced two times a week outside at the Teen Center.
Argumedo advised that they took all necessary safety precautions, taking temperatures before class began and dancing outside where everyone could be distanced according to the guidelines.
“They were excited to do something new and get out of the house,” added Argumedo. “They really liked it and they would give me their input. I want them to be able to give their input and have something to look forward to.”
The music arrangement and choreography was created by Argumedo with a few moves added in by the students.
“We had three little ones. I thought they would have a hard time because the dance was advanced and fast paced,” noted Argumedo. “They didn’t. They didn’t give up and none of them said I can’t do this. I never heard an ‘I can’t’; never in any of the classes. We had the older girls and they helped out a lot. The 11 and 12-year-olds would help and that is always good to see. It is rewarding.”
Since they practiced through the month of October the performance held for family and friends had a Halloween theme with all the dancers in costumes. Argumedo mentioned that it was also a way to have the kid’s sport their costumes once again as COVID has caused so much uncertainty and some of them did not get to go trick or treating.
“They did really good,” remarked Argumedo. “The parents loved it. They were eager to see what their kids were learning. They asked when the next one is. Next year we will start up Hip Hop again. Hopefully all the COVID stuff will be over. So we can do more.”
Parks and Recreation offers a variety of classes and camps and Argumedo advises people to check their website at riverbank.org for more information.
“Come to a class and try it out,” expressed Argumedo. “If the fee is too high we do have scholarships and if they call the city they can apply for a scholarship and be in the class for free.”