Cast members from "Disney's Aladdin" appeared at The Belle Center on Buffalo's West Side Tuesday. WBFO's senior reporter Eileen Buckley says they held a special health and wellness workshop for city children.
Children's voices echoed through The Belle Center gym as they gathered for the Aladdin "Get Up and Go" fitness workshop. The 60-minute session is presented to children to promote healthier lifestyles through music and dance. The Broadway musical is on stage at Shea's Performing Arts Center through this Sunday. Two cast members, Mathew deGuzman and Kenway Kua, led the Buffalo children in the workshop.
“We’re going to teach them a snippet from Arabian Nights – a little song, a little dance. It’s also great to tie-in doing that doing what we do, it’s important to lead a very healthy lifestyle and how to incorporate dance to keeping kids and families active and leading healthy lifestyles,” responded Kua and deGuzman.
The cast members incorporated singing with dance as they gradually added more dance moves. Students worked to keep up with the fast action, animated movement and quickly caught on to the sequence.
“When you get to sing and dance, play it just brings out the best of you and makes you feel better – life is good – it’s awesome,” said Lucy Candelario, executive director at The Belle Center.
The children who participated in the Aladdin workshop also attend summer camp. About 120 children come each day during the week to spend the day at the center.
“The kids are obviously low-income, disadvantage youth. At any given time we have at least 26 different dialects spoken here, so it’s an experience for all of them – they all get to learn and play. It’s really fun,” Candelario explained.
We spoke with two students who enjoyed their Aladdin lesson asking them what it was like to work with the Aladdin cast member.
“It feels kind of weird and cool at the same time. It feels awesome,” said one of the students.
The students were impressed with the dance routine and how quickly the cast members move.
“The pace that they go and how they taught us,” said the student.
The Aladdin workshop was a great way for students to wind down their summer camp bringing a little ‘off-Broadway’ to The Belle Center.