By ED HARRIS
Campers at Southington YMCA Camp Sloper recently “Cha Cha” slid there way into exercise.
DJ Casper (also known as Willie Perry), the creator of “The Cha Cha Slide,” visited Sloper as part of week long tour of Connecticut camps aimed at getting kids moving and to reduce childhood obesity. Casper made a stop at the YMCA’s main building on High Street the day prior.
“All the music I do is for one thing, to stay healthy,” Casper said.
Originally created in 1998, “The Cha Cha Slide has become popular all around the world. The song, which was popularized by Bally’s Health Club, is a staple at dance clubs, weddings, dances and more.
Caspar, who is from Chicago and has been in the business for 35 years, said his music is a mixture of fun and education. He also noted that the dance, along with other songs and dances that he has created, can help people exercise.
“Whenever you move, you burn some calories,” Caspar said. “Dancing is a part of keeping yourself healthy.”
As part of the performance, Caspar had the Sloper counselors front and center performing “The Cha Cha Slide.” The performance was taped for inclusion in an upcoming video from Caspar. Caspar also taped the campers performing the slide, promising them that they would also appear in the video.
Local resident Pete Smith helped to bring Caspar to Southington and helped to raise the necessary funds for the celebrity DJ’s important message.
“It’s a crisis,” Smith said of childhood obesity, noting his own struggles with weight.
Smith works with longtime DJ John Ross, who is a friend of Caspar. While Ross was in Las Vegas recently for a DJ expo, he spoke with Caspar about coming to Connecticut.
Ross was in attendance and helped to warm up the crowd and get the campers moving prior to Caspar’s performance.