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Athens family organizes drive-by dance party

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Athens family organizes drive-by dance party

After watching the joy created by teachers driving through their Athens neighborhood, one family got an idea: a neighborhood drive-by dance party. On an April Saturday afternoon with shelter-in-place orders in effect, Ashley and Joey Stewart loaded up their two kids, Lana, 6, and Clark, 4, in the bed of their truck. They took a loop around their neighborhood with a large speaker.

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Joey Stewart dances in a unicorn costume with his kids and their neighborhood friends as his wife drives their truck around their Athens, Georgia neighborhood on Saturday, April 23, 2020. (Photo/Taylor Gerlach)

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A family prepared for the weekly neighborhood dance party with chalk drawings in their driveway in Athens, Georgia on Saturday, April 23, 2020. (Photo/Taylor Gerlach)

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The Stewart family rides around their neighborhood with two neighbors, Declan, 10, and Charlotte, 7, in Athens, Georgia on Saturday, April 23, 2020. (Photo/Taylor Gerlach)

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Joey Stewart sets up a speaker in the street for a neighborhood dance party in Athens, Georgia on Saturday, April 23, 2020. (Photo/Taylor Gerlach)

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Neighborhood kids ride in the Stewarts' truck for a drive-by dance party in Athens, Georgia on Saturday, April 23, 2020. (Photo/Taylor Gerlach)

Other neighborhood families came out to their driveways to dance along.

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Laura and Matthew Perkins dance in their front yard with their two daughters, 4-year-old Emmy and 7-month-old Violet in Athens, Georgia on Saturday, April 23, 2020. (Photo/Taylor Gerlach)

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Matthew Perkins twirls his daughter, Emmy, 4, in their front yard in Athens, Georgia on Saturday, April 23, 2020. (Photo/Taylor Gerlach)

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Laura Perkins dances with her seven-month-old daughter Violet as part of a socially distant neighborhood dance party in Athens, Georgia on Saturday, April 23, 2020. (Photo/Taylor Gerlach)

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A father spins his young daughter in the air as part of a neighborhood dance party in Athens, Georgia on Saturday, April 23, 2020. (Photo/Taylor Gerlach)

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Laura and Matthew Perkins dance in their front yard with their two kids, 4-year-old Emmy and 7-month-old Violet in Athens, Georgia on Saturday, April 23, 2020. (Photo/Taylor Gerlach)

Families with young kids, elderly residents and community members in wheelchairs all joined in on the fun distraction from the gravity of COVID-19.

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A neighbor steps off of his porch to take a video of the Stewart family's dance routine in Athens, Georgia on Saturday, April 23, 2020. (Photo/Taylor Gerlach)

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A family claps and dances along with the Stewart family in Athens, Georgia on Saturday, April 23, 2020. (Photo/Taylor Gerlach)

Family dance parties are a normal occurrence in the Stewart household. Ashley and Joey said they often have the speaker in the driveway to dance outside with their kids. Inside, the GoNoodle app on their TV inspires random dance parties, and the family started learning new routines together.

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The Stewart family dances in the street with two neighbors, Declan, 10, and Charlotte, 7, while neighbors watch and join in Athens, Georgia on Saturday, April 23, 2020. (Photo/Taylor Gerlach)

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Four-year-old Clark dances with his family in the street as part of their weekly Saturday drive-by dance parties in Athens, Georgia on Saturday, April 23, 2020. (Photo/Taylor Gerlach)

As their neighborhood drive-by dance parties became a weekly occurrence every Saturday afternoon throughout quarantine, the family started performing dance routines together. “U Can’t Touch This” is a new favorite, and the Stewarts performed the dance at each house they stopped at along their route last Saturday.

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Six-year-old Lana performs a choreographed dance with her family in Athens, Georgia on Saturday, April 23, 2020. (Photo/Taylor Gerlach)

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Joey and Ashley perform a dance routine to "U Can't Touch This" with their kids, Lana, 6, and Clark, 4, for their neighbors in Athens, Georgia on Saturday, April 23, 2020. (Photo/Taylor Gerlach)

Now, other families in the neighborhood are learning dances together and send in song requests. When the Stewarts stop at their driveway, families will perform their chosen dances.

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Laura and Matthew Perkins dance in their front yard with their two kids, 4-year-old Emmy and 7-month-old Violet in Athens, Georgia on Saturday, April 23, 2020. (Photo/Taylor Gerlach)

That’s what this is all about for the Stewarts. As owners of Athens’ Fit Body Boot Camp, they wanted to get the community engaged in a family-friendly way to get moving, get outside and stay connected.

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Declan, 10, and Charlotte, 7, dance on the truck that has become a mobile dance party for their Athens, Georgia neighborhood. (Photo/Taylor Gerlach)

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Laura Perkins dances with her seven-month-old daughter Violet as part of a socially distant neighborhood dance party in Athens, Georgia on Saturday, April 23, 2020. (Photo/Taylor Gerlach)

The dance parties have extended into the 55+ living community adjacent to the Stewarts’ neighborhood, and some of the older residents come outside with their dogs to enjoy oldies music blasted from their speaker.

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Matthew Perkins twirls his daughter, Emmy, 4, in their front yard in Athens, Georgia on Saturday, April 23, 2020. (Photo/Taylor Gerlach)

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The Stewart family waves at the Perkins family as they drive by in their truck-turned-mobile-dance-party to continue down the road to their next stop in Athens, Georgia on Saturday, April 23, 2020. (Photo/Taylor Gerlach)

Their truck and speaker have become a vessel to meet new families on other streets of the neighborhood, engage with their friends in a new environment of dance and stay connected in a safe way despite the unknowns of COVID-19.

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Joey Stewart and his family started drive-by dance parties their Athens, Georgia neighborhood to get families active, engaged and outside. (Photo/Taylor Gerlach)

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