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Bianca Nikic - September 16, 2004


September 16, 2004

Growing Fit

From left: Francesca Lucia, 12, Anthony Nikic, 7, Bianca Nikic, 11, Ori Apkon, 10, and Emily Mass, 11, all of Pleasantville, tape a children's exercise show called "Growing Fit" Sept. 14 at Pleasantville Community Television studio in Pleasantville. The show will air starting this Saturday.

Dancer wants peers to move

Bianca Nikic has been dancing around the house ever since she could walk.

The 11-year-old said she loves to move and groove, and now hopes her passion will invigorate Pleasantville's youth.

Alarmed by a trend among her peers to diet excessively or to be inactive and overweight, Bianca said she decided to create a television exercise program for kids called "Growing Fit."

Nationwide, 15 percent of children and teens ages 6 to 19 are overweight, according to 1999 to 2000 data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The centers recommend adolescents get a moderate to vigorous level of exercise for 20 minutes or more at least three times a week to stay healthy.

The first episode of "Growing Fit" will air after school on Pleasantville Community Television, Channel 76, later this month.

"I just hope it goes really well and people like it," Bianca said. "If they like it, they'll feel more comfortable about themselves. They'll feel like they've accomplished something."

Bianca spent her summer training and developing her child-safe exercise routine with help from Susan Mac-Kechnie-Czechel, co-founder of the Dance Centre of Westchester in Pleasantville.

Bianca said her background in dance made the exercise moves easy to learn. She began taking dance classes at age 4 and has studied ballet, pointe, jazz and hip-hop.

"It was kind of like second nature to me, but I don't think it will be difficult for anyone else to learn. It's not too intense," she said.

The 25-minute program starts with a warm-up and stretching. Bianca and her four assistants, Bianca's brother Anthony Nikic, 7, Emily Mass, 11, Francesca Lucia, 12 and Ori Apkon, 10, will then guide the audience through four different kid-oriented movements, like "the Superman." The show ends with a cool down.

"She has really tremendous choreography skills. She'll add her own spice to it," Bianca's mother, Fanda, said.

Fanda said she was impressed by the rehearsal video. "Once they were on camera, I thought they looked incredible. I thought she was very charismatic on camera. You need to have a little something to get everyone going."

Bianca's father, Peter, said the exercise program is about helping local youth stay fit and feel confident. He said the earlier children learn how to maintain a healthy lifestyle, the healthier they'll be as adults.

"You will learn to live life in a fit manner, so you will never get to that point where you're out of shape," Bianca said.

MacKechnie-Czechel said Bianca's show is sure to be a hit, recalling the first time she met Bianca when the Dance Centre of Westchester opened. "She just ran right in. She was the first one in. She stood up in the front and she really got the other kids going because she was so enthusiastic."

Bianca plans to air new episodes of "Growing Fit" each month. For more information about show dates and times go to and click on "Growing Fit" in the "Pleasantville Welcomes" section.

© By CATHERINE L. FOLEY | September 16, 2004 | THE PATENT TRADER