Schools and Libraries
May 15, 2013
To the delight of family and friends, fifth-graders at East School in Long Beach danced the night away in their Spring Fling Dance Showcase, demonstrating the fancy footwork and teamwork they had mastered in the Dancing Classrooms program. Through ballroom dancing lessons, this innovative character education program has been encouraging the students to cultivate mutual respect, teamwork, collaboration and self-esteem, as well as teaching them to do a mean tango, fox trot and waltz.
Students worked with Dancing Classrooms teaching artist Katie de Bruin, as well as their classroom teachers, health and physical education teachers, music teacher and FLES teacher, not only to master their dance steps, but also to learn the history and cultural significance of dances that originated in Latin America, Europe and the U.S. This year was especially challenging because the East School gymnasium, where they usually practice and perform, was undergoing repairs as a result of damage caused by Superstorm Sandy. Students and their teachers adapted by setting up makeshift practice areas in their classrooms, the music room and other spaces in their building.
At the culmination of the program, the students hosted a Spring Fling ballroom dancing showcase at the Long Beach Middle School gymnasium, in which they demonstrated their knowledge and skill in the merengue, fox trot, rumba, waltz, swing and polka. At the end of the evening, each student invited one special guest from the audience to join him or her on the dance floor.