HYATTSVILLE – Hyattsville has been designated a Healthy Eating, Active Living (HEAL) city and Mayor Candace Hollingsworth is taking the movement to the people. With the inaugural event on Nov. 18, Mayor Hollingsworth began her Movin’ With The Mayor program to encourage city residents to get active and to promote local businesses. At the first […]
HYATTSVILLE – Hyattsville has been designated a Healthy Eating, Active Living (HEAL) city and Mayor Candace Hollingsworth is taking the movement to the people.
With the inaugural event on Nov. 18, Mayor Hollingsworth began her Movin’ With The Mayor program to encourage city residents to get active and to promote local businesses. At the first event of many to come, the mayor participated in a free West African dance class at Ballet Tap And All That Jazz Studio.
“Movin’ With The Mayor came about as a staff idea. We said we should host some exercises classes because during the campaign I hosted a workout class at the city building. People came and after that we thought that’d be cool,” Hollingsworth said.
Hyattsville is a gold level HEAL city. HEAL is a grant program dedicated to encouraging cities to become more active and healthy through policies that promote things likes farmer’s markets, community gardens, complete streets, activity centers and healthy living.
“We are one of three cities in the state of Maryland to have that distinction,” Hollingsworth said. “We are recognized because we are putting into place policies and programs and actions that demonstrate that healthy eating and active living is important to us as a city. We want to allow our residents as many opportunities as possible to incorporate it into their lives.”
The first class, which was located just down the street from the city building, invited residents to have fun while being active. The dance class included warming up, some stretching, and a basic introduction into African dance. More than 15 women participated in the class
“I had a lot of fun. It was great to see such a good turnout of residents and people that you see on a regular basis, but you probably would have never worked out together before,” Hollingsworth said.
Hollingsworth said she had never participated in African dance before and she was glad to try it, but appreciated that it was a beginner class.
The entire event was put on through a joint effort of city staff and the dance studio. Ellarose Preston, a city staff member, said the city chose to have the first class at Ballet Tap And All That Jazz because the city wanted to partner with local businesses. Preston sent out letters and Ballet Tap was the first to respond.
“We wanted to partner with local businesses in the Hyattsville area so we can help our community to thrive; to give our residents and business members a chance to lengthen their lives, have some fun, stay active, and just really stimulate the community and stimulate the local economy,” Preston said.
Rene Hoffler, the owner of Ballet Tap And All That Jazz, said the studio just moved to its new location at 5103 Baltimore Avenue. The studio offers multiple dance classes each week, including African dance, zumba, ballet, tap, jazz, modern, and hip-hop. The youngest student is two and a half-years-old and the oldest is 72.
Hoffler said she loved the idea of Movin’ With The Mayor because it gets people active and also keeps people aware of their local amenities.
“People don’t realize what dance can do for them and I just hope that people will see that and come back,” she said. “The importance is keeping a vibrant community where you have members who are active long into their seniors.”
Reva Harris, a resident of Hyattsville, said she came out because she loves dance and wanted to support the studio. She was excited to find where the studio had moved. She said she had done African dance in the 90’s and really enjoyed the free class.
“I enjoyed it. It exceeded my expectations. I had a good time,” she said. “I just like to move and dance and I like the beat. I like the music and I just like to see everybody having fun.”
Harris said she appreciated the mayor hosting the program and she loves that Hollingsworth leads by example.
“You can say ‘let’s move,’ but when people see you move then they’re like, ‘yeah! She’s doing it too, not just saying it.’ She’s putting her movement where her mouth is,” she said.
Upcoming events include:
Tai Chi with Dancing in Silence
Saturday, Dec. 19
1:00-2:00 PM at the City Municipal Building
4310 Gallatin Street
Sadcie – Caribbean Dance Exercise with Island Fete Fitness
Saturday, Jan. 16
12:30-1:30 PM at the City Municipal Building
4310 Gallatin Street
Saturday, Feb. 20
10:30-11:30 AM at Yoga Space
4206 Gallatin Street