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Teaching the art of baton twirling

City Twirlers has brought baton twirling to Queens.

Director and baton twirling coach Jessica Pereyra was a twirler herself for 15 years and has taught twirling for 11 years. She opened City Twirlers in 2004 after noticing that Queens did not have any competitive baton twirling schools. Classes are held in Maspeth, Glendale and Richmond Hill.

City Twirlers offers recreational instruction in addition to competitive level twirling through the United States Twirling Association. Students have competed nationally for the past three years. Last year City Twirlers won first place, and one of their nine-year-old twirlers won the Grand National Championship.

Classes are taught for boys and girls between the ages of four and 20, and are broken up into different groups and categories. Baton classes utilize gymnastics and dance, and performances are choreographed to music, which requires skill and coordination. Beginners learn very basic twirls, which can then become bigger tricks involving cartwheels and handstands with the baton in hand, making it a real cardiovascular workout. Pereyra said parents often comment how much more confidence their children have after taking Baton classes.

“Twirling is a lot of fun and it’s something different. The kids become friends working together as a team. They also learn to be ambidextrous, using both sides of their body and hand-eye coordination,” said Pereyra.

The highly qualified coaches all have strong backgrounds in Twirling. In addition to Pereyra, there’s also Kathy Catterson, 1992 MTA Grand Champion who has been coaching for seven years and is a certified USTA judge. Twirling coach and dance choreographer Julianne Lopez has been twirling since age six and has competed in numerous competitions and performances. Coach Tiffany Reicowsky was the 2008 College Miss Majorette of America and has competed as part of three world touring twirling teams.

City Twirlers participates in events including local parades, the Juvenile Diabetes Walk, Elf Yourself and have appeared on Sesame Street. They also do charity work at St. Mary’s Children’s Hospital.

“There’s nothing that can stop a child from learning to use a baton. There are no boundaries, we teach whatever kids want to achieve while keeping them focused and involved,” said Pereyra.

For more information, call 646-772-1075 or log on to www.citytwirlers.com.

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