For three of the six years Dancing Classrooms has been bringing fifth graders to the dance floor, I’ve been going to their final Ballroom Dancing Competition at Temple University. And every time, I’m overwhelmed by the beauty, grace and power of seeing teens from eight schools dance their hearts out in almost perfect harmony.
It takes a lot of work and discipline to make it to this day. Teaching artists have been working for 10 weeks with students from public, charter and parochial schools in Philadelphia to explore not only the steps, but the connections born out of doing something difficult and fun together.
The organizers will tell you it’s about cultivating life skills like respect, breaking down social barriers, self confidence, communications, cooperation and exercise. The kids will tell you it’s a big deal to show their families and friends what they’ve achieved. You don’t have to look too hard to know what this means to them; you see it in their faces and their steps.