Dancing Classrooms was launched in 1994 as a not-for-profit project of the American Ballroom Theater Company. It is an arts-in-education program teaching ballroom dance to the 5th, 8th and 12th grade students of participating schools. As seen in the documentary film Mad Hot Ballroom, Dancing Classrooms is an in-school residency for every child, regardless of his or her background or experience.
While Dancing Classrooms has been hailed as an effective program for teaching social dance, the program provides many other benefits. Dancing Classrooms is about creating an atmosphere that allows students who are typically introverted and reserved to step out and shine. It focuses physical energy and increases health through the joy of movement. It builds self-esteem and interactive social skills as it improves children’s confidence and ability to relate to others.
“Dancing is about connections–to our friends, to our families, to our neighbors. It is one of the most expressive ways we celebrate and communicate our cultures and communities. With Dancing Classrooms, we are able to reach children in existing classroom settings and address fundamental issues of mutual respect and self-esteem – issues that social dance puts into practice. We hope to inspire children through dance to do well, to respect one another, to be proud. This program is about more than dance, it is about teaching children to take a bow.”