Carbondale Public Library offering free family dance classes in Spanish every Saturday in June |

Carbondale Public Library offering free family dance classes in Spanish every Saturday in June

Thanks to a partnership between Garfield County Public Libraries and the Dance Initiative, young kids and their parents can get ready to groove this summer.

Alex Garcia-Bernal, events and education coordinator for Garfield County Public Libraries, said the classes will be taught in Spanish as an effort to connect with the local Latino community.

“It’ll be one of the first things we do back in person, so we’re looking forward to that. … This one, of course, is directed at Spanish-speakers, but everyone is welcome,” Garcia-Bernal said. “My wish is that we can expand (the classes) to the other library branches at some time.”

Megan Janssen, executive director of the Dance Initiative, said that while the instructor, Claudia Pawl, will be teaching the classes in Spanish, she’s also bilingual and can accommodate non-Spanish speakers, as well.

“It really allows kids to have fun, and also if kids don’t think of themselves as dancers, it’s just a really fun way to play, be outside, move your body and find self-expression,” Janssen said. “The other thing is to meet more of the community.”

The classes are free and designed to be family-oriented, with a focus on teaching young children about movement. James Larson, marketing and communications manager at GarCo Public Libraries, said right now the classes are scheduled for only the month of June, but depending on the turnout they may decide to continue with them throughout the summer.

“I’m thinking about (joining in), because I just discovered the dog park down there in Carbondale. As long as it’s in the lawn, I might come with my dogs,” Larson said.

Pawl said participants in the dance classes can expect high-energy and lots of laughter. She’s been dancing since she was 3 years old and owns a studio that focuses on Latin-inspired dances, Mezcla Social Dance, in the valley.

“The focus of the class is going to be the celebration of movement. I tend to challenge kids’ brains without them knowing it, in the sense of challenging them in a fun way that makes what we’re doing something they want to do,” Pawl said. “And also something that includes the parents, something they can take home and do on their own, as well.”

The classes are going to be held outside on the lawn behind the library, and there’s currently no limit on how many people can attend. She added that Mezcla Social Dance is back to hosting classes on Thursday nights this summer for adults and encouraged community members to come out and attend.

“I think it will be a lot of fun. I’m really focusing on making sure everyone feels included, and there’s a lot of energy, and we all pretty much celebrate that we’re out again and able to be with each other. … If there’s families that are moving together, for me that’s always a huge motivator to enhance that or to be a part of that in some way,” Pawl said.

Reporter Jessica Peterson can be reached at 970-279-3462 or

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