After an extensive warmup, the dance students break into groups. The most experienced children — from 12 to 16 years old — show off complex jazz-funk and hip-hop routines to songs like K7's “Come Baby Come.”
Outside the technical college hosting the class, snow falls over the mostly abandoned and heavily damaged city. Russian forces who occupied Izium were driven out in September, but the area is still laden with bombs and other explosives. Most families fled and haven't returned.
During the occupation, the dance team didn't practice, and all academic schools were closed. Water and electricity were cut off as Ukraine fought bitterly to win back the city. Remaining families had little to do but wait for the violence to end.
"In the first days of occupation, we spent our time counting the falling shells," explained Ivan Pustelnik, a 12-year-old dancer in black sweatpants and kneepads. After seven years of training, he is a veteran of Izium's dance team. "In one day, we counted 400 strikes."
As the months of war dragged on, families tried to get back to a somewhat normal life, added Olesya Bilyaga, the dance coach.
"We knew Russia was in charge at that time," she says. "But we always considered ourselves Ukrainian and waited for Ukraine to come back."
Ukraine did come back, taking this strategic city and restoring a key supply line to their forces on the front lines. Some families began to rebuild their damaged homes.
"After Ukraine returned to Izium, water came back and we could clean the apartment," said Milana Tytarenko, a 10-year-old student who started dance classes a month ago.
She speaks in a quick, stoic voice and wears a bright pink shirt that says "Chief Happiness Officer" in small, white letters.
"It was hard to live under Russia because our windows were covered with plastic sheets," she said.
At that time, there was no point in repairing windows that would break again in the next inevitable blast, she said.
But some damage cannot so easily be fixed, added Bilyaga.
"If you watch the children in dance class, you can see which ones stayed during the occupation," she explained. "You can see the trauma on their faces."
After her dance class, Tytarenko's face grows pale as she remembers the time, and those she lost.
"My grandpa. My grandma," she said. She continues listing relatives as her eyes glaze with tears and her voice fades to silence.
Before the war, the Izium dance team was competitive, winning medals in regional, national and international meets. Most of the dancers fled with their families, but some have come back. About 30% of the original members are now dancing again.
"This summer we are going to Odesa," said Pustelnik, the 12-year-old boy with seven years of training.
He described what he expects to be a dance conference that includes a friendly competition in the southern port city.
"My teacher will choreograph a solo for me," he adds, appearing just a little bit excited.
Dance classes began again in December, and they are still among the very few activities Izium children can do outside their homes with other children. School is online and almost all community facilities are damaged or destroyed.
A nearly hundred-year-old theater that used to host the dance classes, concerts and a library is now damaged beyond use. Blown out windows are covered with fraying plastic tarps, and shattered glass litters the floor. An explosion of index cards that catalogued the library books is scattered throughout the facility.
The books were packed into a storage room by Russian soldiers, locals say, but they were destroyed when the room caught fire after a bombing.
"We are going to rebuild the theater one day," said Bilyaga, the dance coach. "But the municipality doesn't have the money right now."
For now, dance classes continue at the technical college, which is also starting to host their students in person for some classes, some of the time.
In the class, after the more experienced dancers demonstrate their routines, younger and newer students spread out on the dance floor. In brightly colored leotards, sweats and sneakers, the children learn a combination of stomping, clapping and twisting. Some dance with abandon, others focus on getting the steps right.
The war in Ukraine seems far from over, with both sides gearing up for spring battles after a long, brutal winter. Many people died, and neither side gained much ground.
But dancers in Izium say the fighting is now barely in earshot and they hope it will never return to their city. The nearest battle zone is now at least 60 kilometers away, which for children in Izium, seems far away.
"Not long ago we heard shelling," said Alona Gurova, an 11-year-old who recently began dancing after a friend told her it was fun. "But it was a long way off."
Oleksandr Babenko contributed to this report.