Dance studio helps students learn in new ways

Published 7:00 am Tuesday, October 4, 2016

E.Jae James, owner of Xfinity Dance in Picayune, demonstrates some of the kinesthetic learning techniques they use in his studio. Photo by Julia Arenstam

E.Jae James, owner of Xfinity Dance, demonstrates some of the kinesthetic learning techniques they use in his studio.
Photo by Julia Arenstam

E.Jae James opened Xfinity Dance in Picayune as a place for people of all ages to learn every style of dance.

Six years later, James shifted his attention toward using dance as a way to enhance a child’s education and help them “be their own person.”

For the past four months he has worked with students to help them learn to think in creative and innovative ways.

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The goal of the studio is to “continue to inspire, achieve and educate,” James said.

His background in education taught him that learning cannot be strictly split into subject groups; what students may learn in science class can be supplemented by what they learn in history, he said.

“We try to make them the best person that they can be,” James said. “Their actions today reflect on tomorrow.”

James said he’s been working with students who struggle with ADD, ADHD or other behavioral problems.

He said some school systems have developed a poor habit of placing students who struggle in traditional classrooms into special education programs.

School systems that focus on teaching from the books and don’t help students make connections between what they learn in school and the outside world aren’t adapting to different styles of learning, James said.

“Kids don’t know how to separate creativity from originality,” James said; every child learns differently.

James said he has been pushing for local schools to incorporate kinesthetic learning and creative programs into their daily schedule. He hopes to be able to set up programs within the school system itself, instead of working from the outside.

His studio implements kinesthetic learning for every age group through repetition, timing, spatial awareness and imagination, James said.

This type of learning is beneficial for students who are not succeeding in school, he said.

James said he has seen a significant improvement in his students’ report cards are better behaved in the classroom.

Some students are able to talk more and come out of their shell, James said.

In the first two to four weeks he said he sees dramatic improvement in students who previously would be very attached to their parents.

In some cases, James said students who were placed on medicine for attention or behavior issues have either reduced or eliminated their need for it.

Their dance classes, especially for the older students, teach them how to proofread, check for mistakes and improve their time management, James said.

It also helps them to distinguish between leading and following, he said.

“We push them to be the individual that they see themselves to be,” James said. “We allow them to excel in their own way.”

One of the biggest questions James asks his students is, “Who do you do this for?”

The answer should be “yourself,” he said.

“It’s not our dream, it’s your dream,” James said.

About Julia Arenstam

Staff Writer

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