Calling all dancers: Worthington boy, 8, aims to recruit other boys for dance class

WORTHINGTON -- Eight-year-old Bennett Oberloh's favorite sport is baseball. He also has taken part in a youth wrestling program and takes piano lessons -- not unusual activities for a boy his age.

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WORTHINGTON - Eight-year-old Bennett Oberloh’s favorite sport is baseball. He also has taken part in a youth wrestling program and takes piano lessons - not unusual activities for a boy his age.

He also loves to dance - and he’s hoping to get other boys involved in the activity.
Bennett, the son of Joshua and Brenda Oberloh of Worthington and a third-grader at Prairie Elementary, received his four-year participation trophy from Kay Williams Prunty’s Dance Academy in June.

He plans to keep taking lessons at The Dance Academy - which has recently expanded to two studios and can now offer additional classes - but he’d like to be enrolled in a boys-only class.
“I’m trying to get more people to come to the boys dance class, but if we don’t, we’re really not going to be able to have it,” Bennett explained.
Seven boys are needed for the class, Bennett said, and just he and one other boy are signed up so far. As a result, a recruitment effort of sorts has gotten under way.
“He wants to start an all-boy dance class, but it seems like at his age the boys decide not to dance anymore because generally there’s only one boy to a group of girls,” Brenda said. “We started by putting something on my Facebook account, with Bennett’s approval.”
“My idea then was to get something in the paper,” added Bennett, who paid for an advertisement with his own money. “I also wanted to get fliers into everyone at school’s mailbox.”
Brenda noted that a flier approved by both Prairie Elementary and Prunty was distributed this week to third- and fourth-grade boys to take home.
“My last idea was to hand out fliers at the (King Turkey Day) parade and hang up posters, too,” Bennett added, with he and his mom both pointing out that the poster effort remains.
There isn’t any specific reason Bennett enjoys dance - “It’s just one thing I really enjoyed doing during my younger years, and right now, I kind of would like to see more boys interested in learning something like that” - but he did add that a summer experience fueled additional interest.
“I went to dance camp in the summer for three days,” Bennett said. “I was the only boy there … and Kay brought in Thai Hua to teach the hip hop for a few days. He and I became very good friends, and I just want to see more and more boys doing dance.”
“One of biggest things is he had friends at school that say ‘it’s a girl thing’ or ‘it’s boring,” Brenda added. “Even the boys that seem to want to dance are often apprehensive … and we’ve even run into some opposition in our own extended family. But there are so many benefits to dance - coordination, strength, flexibility, mental strength, self-esteem, confidence, building strong muscles and bones and teamwork.”
Parents or guardians who have a boy interested in taking dance should contact Kay Williams Prunty’s Dance Academy, 343-2623.

Ryan McGaughey arrived in Worthington in April 2001 as sports editor of The Daily Globe, and first joined Forum Communications Co. upon his hiring as a sports reporter at The Dickinson (North Dakota) Press in November 1998. McGaughey became news editor in Worthington in November 2002 and editor in August 2006.
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