Students learn dance and rock history, too Children prepare for hospital benefit BALTIMORE COUNTY

February 10, 1993|By Mary Maushard | Mary Maushard,Staff Writer

It's Pony Time in Anita Rozenel's music class.

And the fourth-graders hear the call:

So, get with it,

Don't quit it . . .

Boogedy, boogedy, boogedy, boogedy shoot.

"Lean forward, just a little, like a pony," says Mrs. Rozenel, dropping her shoulders forward, letting her arms hang loose and cupping her fingers into her palms.

"Hop a little, like a pony," she advises.

"Not too high. A pony would fall over if he hopped that high," she tells one over-eager prancer.

In a minute, these members of the hip-hop generation are hip to the Pony from mom and dad's day. It's enough to make Chubby Checker twist again.

For two weeks, Mrs. Rozenel has been devoting her music classes at Hernwood Elementary School to rock sounds from the 1950s and '60s -- the Twist, the Pony, the Stroll, the Swim, the Mashed Potatoes, the Loco-Motion.

"I love all kinds of music. I study classical piano, but my own personal philosophy is that it's OK to like all kinds of music," says Mrs. Rozenel. Her purpose this year is more than just exposure, though. She's getting her students ready for Tuesday's Hop for Hopkins, Hernwood's benefit oldies dance for the Johns Hopkins Children's Center.

She wants the youngsters to be able to stroll, twist and hand jive as they make money for the hospital, where Mrs. Rozenel is a volunteer known as "the music lady." The children learned about the hospital last year when one of their classmates was a patient there.

The kindergartner, Amanda Bradle, died in June of kidney cancer and the benefit dance is in her memory.

"The hop is very important to us," says fourth-grader Justin Sanders.

But that doesn't mean it can't be fun -- just like Mrs. Rozenel's classes.

As she spins the 45s with labels such as "Roulette," the teacher in the saddle shoes and round-like-a-record skirt turns tales, too -- about Little Eva, the Temptations, Joey Dee and the Starlighters.

And though she's a tenacious twister, Mrs. Rozenel doesn't forget that she's a teacher. Before she hurls a fifth-grade class into the Peppermint Twist, she reviews the elements of music: tempo and timbre, meter and beat. She sets up her metronome. And she shares some history.

"The Twist was the first song that I remember where you had a partner, but didn't touch," she said.

Fourth-grader Brian Johnson is really moving with the Pony, though he says he likes the Peppermint Twist better.

Usually Brian does rap dances, he says, "But this has a lot more action."

Classmate Kate Lawrence agrees: "These are wilder than today's dances."

For one class Mrs. Rozenel calls in a couple of co-dancers: Shirley Harden and Sally Nazelrod, Hernwood's principal and assistant principal, respectively. Mrs. Harden dives into the Swim, to the delight of the fifth-graders, and Ms. Nazelrod walks the students through the Stroll.

"I love to teach dance. It's a lifelong sport," says Ms. Nazelrod, who splits her duties between administration and teaching physical education.

"You really have to concentrate," she tells the youngsters as she demonstrates the basic six steps of the Stroll and keeps the lines moving.

"This is the toughest dance," adds Mrs. Rozenel.

But not for Mrs. Harden. She's strolling along as if Dwight Eisenhower were still in the White House. When it's over, the principal appeals for more: "I want to do something else."

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