Now entering its 12th season, Dance It Up with Music in Hamilton Square is a family owned and operated dance and music studio focusing on empowering kids by lifting them up.

Community outreach and giving back are as important to Jennifer Chin as the dance and music side of her business. Each year Dance It Up with Music chooses a charity to support. Last year they raised $5,363 for First Day of School Foundation, an organization created in memory of Eli Thomas Waller, a young student at Dance It Up with Music, to provide support for special needs students. In 2014-’15 they raised $5,000 for Joey’s Little Angels (www.joeyslittleangels.org). Other past charities include the Trenton Area Soup Kitchen, Chad’s Heroes (to raise money for Cystic Fibrosis in honor of the son of a Hamilton police officer), and the Ronald McDonald House.

The mission at Dance It Up with Music is to instill life skills such as determination, motivation, self-confidence, discipline, time management, and respect for themselves and others. Students are taught to be gracious in winning and generous in defeat.

“We emphasize it is not what we do, but why we are doing it that matters,” explains Chin. “When you know your why you can endure your how.” With their performance team it is not about winning. “We are there to help a cause, to change lives, to add to research that will help them. We are just lucky enough to use our passion, which is dance, to do it. We do it to show the kids how small acts over time compound into huge differences. That is why we are doing it.”

The new school year begins the week of September 12.

Pre-schoolers begin taking music lessons at 18 months. “It is such a fun environment. It is pure education, but they are having so much fun they don’t realize how much they are learning,” enthuses Chin. Group music classes are offered up to age seven through the Music FunTime Program, at which time they can switch to private lessons on piano, voice, percussion, horn, and guitar.

Dance classes begin at age two. “The earlier I can instill love for dancing, music, and the arts, the more fulfilled my mission is,” adds Chin. Classes are offered in every style related to dance. Visit their website at danceitupstudios.com for a complete schedule.

Chin also travels to area pre-schools as part of a community outreach program.

Chin proudly explains: “most people don’t come to us for our dance; they come for our culture. Most of our dancers will not be professionals. We teach them life lessons, tools to succeed in life and family first. Everything else is icing on the cake. We educate them to use dance as their platform, but to really fulfill them as people. I share these accomplishments with my family. With my family I can do anything, but without them what good is anything I do?”

Dance It Up With Music, 1800 Route 33, Suite 101A, Hamilton Square. Studio hours Monday through Saturday. 609-581-0808, danceitup1062@hotmail.com, danceitupstudios.com.

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