John Taylor's 'kindercise' mixes education with danceThe...


April 21, 1991|By Mary Corey

John Taylor's 'kindercise' mixes education with dance

The man knows how to mambo. And merengue. And do nearly any other move you can think of, including the tic-toc hustle, a step he created during his days as local disco king.

"Dance changes your whole attitude," John Taylor explains. "You may have a thousand problems, but once you begin moving you get out of that blue funk."

Currently, he's bringing that message to youngsters through "kindercise," a program he has created that teaches coordination and self-esteem through song, dance and stories.

"We get loose with Mother Goose," he says with a laugh.

Over the last five years, Mr. Taylor, who lives in Columbia, has taken his routines to more than 700 schools in 38 states. This summer he has been invited to perform in Hawaii, Malaysia and Russia.

His love affair with dance began shortly after he learned to walk. Family members cheered and threw change after the toddler completed his impromptu performances. In the '70s, he made his mark around town, teaching would-be John Travoltas (including one-time student Oprah Winfrey) how to bump, slide and hustle to the disco beat.

Today at age 55, he gives no thought to slowing down his own tempo.

"I don't look at myself as growing old," he says. "I just keep moving."

Friends jokingly refer to Janet Covington as "the conscience of Channel 2."

And with good reason.

As public affairs director for the last 16 years, it has been her job to oversee issues-oriented programming, public service announcements and special projects for the station.

She joined WMAR-TV in 1948 and became one of the first women promoted to the level of producer at a local TV station.

Despite her preference for working behind the scenes, she has not entirely escaped the limelight. On Wednesday, she will be honored as the 1991 Distinguished Woman by the Girl Scouts of Central Maryland.

After so many years in the business, she now finds it difficult to separate her personal and professional interests. As the president of the Fuel Fund of Central Maryland and a representative for the National Conference of Christians and Jews, she says that increasing public awareness about important issues has been her goal.

"This job gives you a chance to be pro-active," says Ms. Covington, who lives in Guilford with her husband of 42 years.

She declines to give her age but will answer another all-important question: Was she ever a Girl Scout?

"I've never been a Girl Scout," she says with a pause, "but I've been called one."

Have someone to suggest? Write Mary Corey, Baltimore Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, Md. 21278, or call (301) 332-6156.

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