4/23/2013 2:15:00 PM From Pupil to Teacher: Reay, Parks & Rec offer Polynesian Dance classes
Long-time dance instructor Kathy Reay teaches 3- to 6-year-olds the art of Polynesian dance Monday at the Camp Verde Community Center. The classes are sponsored by Camp Verde Parks and Recreation. VVN/Bill Helm
Aislynn Mulcaire, 4, learns traditional Polynesian dances Monday at the Camp Verde Community Center. VVN/Bill Helm
CAMP VERDE - Kathy Reay of Rimrock first learned Polynesian dance when she was 7 years old.
"Tanya Ku'uleilani Muse was my dance instructor," Reay said. "She was the most beautiful woman I had ever seen. To see her dance made me want to be like her."
Reay, a long-time dance instructor, has partnered with Camp Verde Parks and Recreation to teach Polynesian Dance classes Mondays at the Community Center. Reay is teaching Hawaiian, Tahitian and Maori dance to children ages 3 to 6, and children ages 10 to 13.
"I want the children to learn a love of the Polynesian Islands," Reay said. "I fell in love with them when I was 7, and they've been a huge part of my life ever since."
Reay studied dance while growing up. After becoming a mother, she then taught her daughter and her nieces to dance. Soon, Reay was also teaching others how to dance. "It just got bigger and bigger," Reay said.
Reay taught dance from 1996-2007 before taking time off for knee surgery and recovery. Running the dance classes for Parks and Recreation is the first time Reay has taught since 2007. "It's good to be back," Reay said.
Taylor Morales, for one, is happy that Reay is again teaching. Morales took dance classes from Reay when she was a child. Now, Morales' 4-year-old daughter Juliana is learning Polynesian dance from Reay.
"It was an awesome experience," Morales said of her dance studies with Reay. "I loved it. It was so much fun. I liked going to the festivals and dancing in front of people."
Reay said she hopes to have luau in September at Rezzonico Ranch in Camp Verde. The reason for the luau, Reay said, is for her young pupils to dance in front of an audience, "to get over their first-show jitters.
"I am anxious to see their first performance," Reay said. "I love to see them love it as much as I do.
"When the girls get it," Reay said, "they have a look in their eyes. They learn a difficult move, they struggle with it, but when they get it, they're so proud of themselves."