Get Active: Dagenham youth fight fat with street dance

PUBLISHED: 13:00 01 October 2015

Lee and Grace Chalkley with son Micah, five

Lee and Grace Chalkley with son Micah, five


A married dance duo on a mission to beat childhood obesity hip-hop, popped and stomped their way into Green Lane on Monday.

Drama teacher Lee Chalkley, 28, and African dance teacher Grace Chalkley, 29, held their first Divine Movement Academy street dance class at the Christian Fellowship Hall.

Lee, who performed at the Queen’s New Year’s Day parade in 2013, says he started the classes to help Dagenham children be active and build confidence.

“Childhood obesity is on the rise,” he said. “And these classes help with fitness.

“We start classes with sit-ups and press-ups to get the blood pumping and build core strength. Street dance is very physical so we keep the children fit and energised.

“But it also helps with confidence and social skills because this is an environment where you can express yourself.”

Grace, who shared the bill with Britain’s Got Talent semi-finalists CEO Dancers at 2013’s African London Fashion Week, thinks street dance’s hip-hop roots are the secret to its appeal.

“A lot of children love hip-hop,” she said.

“It’s a culture and there’s so much you can incorporate into hip-hop.”

Divine Movement Academy runs hour-long classes on Monday evenings.

Sessions for children aged five to eight are held from 4pm-5pm, from 5pm-6pm for eight to 12-year-olds and the 6pm-7pm slot is for 12 to 16-year-olds.

The first session is £1, with follow-up classes costing £5.

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