"I think there are many benefits that come from knowing ballroom dancing. One is bringing all of us together."
How does it work?
Fifth grade students and their classroom teachers receive a semester-long course of dance instruction provided by our teaching artists at no cost to the students. Twenty, 50-minute lessons (twice-weekly for 10 weeks) are held at each partner school during the school day to ensure full student participation and facilitate curriculum integration. Students and teachers learn six social dances: the Merengue, Foxtrot, Rumba, Tango, Swing, and Waltz, as well as the historical and cultural origins of each dance.
Reading, Writing, and Rumba? Our teaching artists work with each fifth grade teacher to integrate Dancing Classrooms topics with a wide range of standard educational subjects including: reading, writing, math, social studies, geography, music, physical education, and visual arts.
The residency includes a visit from a professional ballroom dancer who performs with the teaching artist and answers questions. Upon completion of the residency, students perform for parents, teachers, administrative staff, and the student body at a special culminating event held at their school during the school day.
At the end of each semester, 12 students from each school take part in the Colors of the Rainbow inter-school team match. The students perform before a panel of experienced ballroom dance judges with each student receiving a medal and each school receiving a trophy.
The results? Enhanced academic achievement, improved physical fitness, with young lives enriched through social and emotional learning (SEL) by building self-esteem, confidence, and discipline. Students achieve personal growth with increased gender respect and awareness, improved conflict resolution skills, team-building experiences, and an understanding and practical application of social etiquette standards.
We will extend the Dancing Classrooms program to eighth graders in the future.