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Camp Create at St. Stephen’s teaches art, fosters community

The opening bars of Prince’s “1999” filled the room, and Maura Whelehan began calling out dance warm-ups to the 20 or so elementary-school kids gathered in Kimball Hall at St. Stephen’s Church in Belvedere. The kids, standing in a circle, raised their hands, kicked out their feet and twisted their torsos, and soon Prince was competing with the sounds of rhythmic claps and sneakers pounding the hardwood floor. “Show me bigness,” Whelehan shouted over the music, prompting the kids to stretch as tall as they could. “Now show me minuscule,” Whelehan said, and the kids followed her lead, bending down as close to the ground as they could while breaking into laughter. During their first few days at Camp Create, the group spent their dance workshops learning bhangra, a traditional Indian dance. By the third day of camp, they were ready for a new challenge — they were going to create their own dance, Whelehan told them. (Elliot Karlan photo)

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