dancing kids

Students in Erika Bozinovski’s hip-hop class practice for Thursday’s performance at the Barrymore Theatre. From left are Daniella Mazeh (rear), Evan Brandt, Kennedy Steel, Stella Guralski and Aileen Xia.

Julian Sanchez was the kind of quiet 5-year-old kid who wasn’t interested in organized sports but loved to do flips and stand on his head. A perfect fit, his mother thought, for break dancing.

So Krystal Sanchez enrolled her son in classes with SweatShop Movement, a nonprofit dance school run by Erika Bozinovski with classes in break dancing and hip-hop dance for kids barely out of preschool. Sanchez’s daughters, Katalina, 10, and Layla, 8, signed up for hip-hop.

“We had seen the UW break dancers at Library Mall and Julian was intrigued,” his mother said. With dance class, her son found something in which he excelled.

“Julian is a child very much to himself. Break dancing is an expression of your individualness,” she said. “You’re working as a team, but there’s also that individual piece.”

Team and solo dancers from SweatShop Movement will be featured at “Make Moves,” the dance program’s annual showcase Thursday at the Barrymore Theatre. The all-ages show “gets bigger every year,” Bozinovski said. “It’s our version of a recital.”

The show also includes performances by high school and college-age Bboy and Bgirl dancers, who help teach Bozinovski’s break dancing classes on the East Side at Tapit/New Works and on the West Side at Storybook Ballet.

A longtime dance teacher of adults and youth, Bozinovski was smitten by the dance bug at age 3, when she saw Michael Jackson dance on TV during his “Thriller” years. She is classically trained and majored in dance at UW-Madison before graduating with an art degree in graphic design.

Once out of high school, she started coaching high school dance teams, something she continued to do as she became more involved in learning the complex moves involved in hip-hop.

The training helped her create a niche with SweatShop Movement.

“Dance studios know that hip-hop dance is very popular with youth today,” said Bozinovski, who stresses the dance form is its own genre, not something all dancers with backgrounds in ballet or modern dance are qualified to teach.

“I’ve taught for a lot of studios. Some of them get it and some of them don’t. There are a lot of techniques involved,” she said. “Hip-hop has a very rich history and community. It’s really all about liberation and creativity and voice.”

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