Dance Team Hosts Clinic at Tulane

Pop music was blaring, girls were spinning and some were even getting a little “sassy.” It seemed like a normal afternoon in the dance studio at Reily Student Recreation Center on the Tulane University campus. Only it wasn’t.

The Honeybees took some time out of their schedule to teach the children of the Girls First organization some of their tricks and moves at a dance clinic on June 24. The clinic lasted over three hours as Honeybees members Brenna, Iman, MaQue and Rachel showed nearly 150 girls from the ages 6-12 a couple different dance routines.

The dance clinic was part of the Girls First Summer Camp that began on Monday and will run through Friday, June 28. Girls First is a non-profit organization that provides support and movement opportunities to underserved girls in the metropolitan New Orleans area.

The Pelicans franchise has supported the program for years through different clinics like the one on Monday. However, last spring the organization became the lucky winner of a $20,000 grant awarded during the 2012 Top Hats charity gala put on by the team. According to Girls First co-founder and president Helen Siegel, the grant has had a tremendous impact on the organization.

“Because of the funding (from the grant), we were able to expand the program to record numbers this year,” said Siegel.

“We have 150 kids, so we’ve increased by nearly 15 percent in numbers thanks to the Pelicans. We’re all very excited because the funding has provided more opportunities and allowed us to help more girls.”

Siegel also realizes that the Honeybees and the dance clinic provide an exciting experience for the young girls in the program, while also assisting in delivering the right message to these kids.

“The (Honeybees) that come here and help with the dance program are great role models for our girls,” Siegel said. “They’re very good with our kids and they understand these kids. The kids all look forward to them coming every year and talk about it all the time.

“They really understand the messages that we are trying to deliver to these kids, which is boosting their self-esteem and their self-confidence using physical exercise to obtain those goals.”