PAOLA — Students from the Paola School of Dance recently participated in the “This Place is a Zoo” virtual dance recital 2020.

The studio had 130 students participate in the virtual recital.

“All of the dance numbers were centered around animals,” said Christine Constantino-Kaempfe, owner of Paola School of Dance. “We had planned to have the recital at the studio until Phase 2 fell through. So we scaled the recital back and decided to do the recital from their own house.

“Basically, we talked it up and made it a really big deal,” she said. “Everyone was supposed to invite family members to come sit in the living room.”

Students put on their costumes with hair and makeup and performed routines in front of their families.

Some parents even made their own backdrops to go along with the “This Place is a Zoo” theme.

“I think the parents and the students were thankful that we followed through with something special,” Constantino-Kaempfe said. “Our older students were sad they didn’t get to perform on stage. Our parents were thankful we didn’t move the recital back into July or August.”

Students began having Zoom dance classes through Paola School of Dance after the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic hit in the United States in March. The virtual dance recital “This Place is a Zoo” was held at the end of May.

“All of our teachers offered Zoom classes to their students,” she said. “Once I noticed how the coronavirus was affecting everyone, I felt very strongly that I wanted to keep classes going. I needed to provide some kind of normalcy for our students.

“Everything had been taken away from them,” Constantino-Kaempfe said. “I just wanted to be able to do something fun and still see all of their teachers and classmates. The only way we could do that was to provide the Zoom classes.”

Alex Kaempfe teaches tumbling and is the lead competition instructor. Idalis Bird teaches Hip Hop, Jazz and is competition instructor. Codi Cutburth is an advanced tumbling instructor. Hannah Hasselquist teaches Hip Hop, Jazz and is a lyrical instructor. Christine Constantino-Kaempfe is the owner and operator of Paola School of Dance. She is the lead instructor and early childhood dance specialist.

“This Place is a Zoo” featured animal themed music like “Baby Shark,” “The Lion Sleeps Tonight,” “Fireflies,” “Tiger Feet,” “Just Can’t Wait to be King,” “Crocodile Rock” and “The Ugly Bug Ball.”

Sports Editor Gene Morris can be reached at (913) 294-2311 or

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