Maybe you’ve seen Mad Hot Ballroom, an award-winning documentary capturing the Dancing Classrooms journey in New York City from classroom experience to the city-wide culminating Colors of the Rainbow Team Match. Or maybe you’ve seen Dancing in Jaffa, a feature-length documentary released in 2014 depicting Founder Pierre Dulaine’s work in bringing ballroom dance to 5th grade Jewish and Palestinian children in his home town of Jaffa, Israel. Since 1994, Dancing Classrooms has reached almost 500,000 children in hundreds of schools in 24 cities across the United States and five sites internationally.
Dancing Classrooms does more than teach ballroom and Latin dance steps: the program is about young people overcoming social anxieties and learning gender respect, conflict resolution, and social etiquette. It is a highly developed curriculum that is integrated into standard subjects like cultural studies, writing, visual arts, music, math, and physical education.
Partner dance can transform young lives. The school principal in this video has seen it happen. She describes a young lady who was struggling and acting out in the classroom. By the second class of the 20-week Dancing Classrooms residency, she was engaged and already transforming in her attitude and outlook.
That’s why I am delighted to announce that I am helping to bring Dancing Classrooms to Minnesota for the 2015-16 school year. Andrea Mirenda, a veteran dance professional, has partnered with me in co-founding a new Minnesota nonprofit called Heart of Dance. Our new nonprofit has just become the thirtieth licensed site for Dancing Classrooms. We are thrilled!
Check out Thursday’s blogpost for more about the amazing benefits of bringing ballroom dance to 5th graders. It may already be available near you.
Without dance I cannot feel my soul, hear my heart, or see my dreams. —Nahara