Archive for February 24th, 2013


Dancing Classrooms

February 24, 2013

Dancing and much more

imagesIn 1984 Pierre Dulaine and Yvonne Marceau established Dancing Classrooms in New York City as a part of American Ballroom Theatre Company. The documentary Mad Hat Ballroom was created from the work that Dulaine established.

Boys become gentlemen and the girls become young ladies through Dulaine’s ballroom dancing program. Dancing classrooms is a 10-week, 20 session program that focuses on social development for grade 5 and 6 students. It uses a curriculum-based teaching approach where students are taught dancing vocabulary, 6 dances and social skills. About 180 teams compete each year at the conclusion of the program. The program has spread to 120 cities across the US.

John Wilson’s blog from February 24, called Unleashed Classroom highlights the Dancing Classrooms. Wilson is amazed when he visits NYC to see the program in action and includes: “Our children deserve to have smiles on their faces. Standardized tests, practice tests, and scripted learning have sapped most of the joy out of learning and teaching. The arts can give back much of that joy and can provide a foundation for creativity, critical thinking, collaboration, and communication. We need more arts and less testing. The arts will strengthen literacy, math, and science more than any test. When given the choice, I hope you dance.”

At the Dancing Classrooms website you can see several YouTubes with highlighting the program.

The Dulaine method philosophy:

  1. Respect & Compassion
  2. Being Present
  3. Creating a Safe Place
  4. Command & Control
  5. Language
  6. Humor & Joy

You can read the details of each on wikipedia. One teaching artist who works with the program said: “Dancing Classrooms is not about teaching ballroom dancing. The dance is a tool for getting the children to break down social barriers, learn about honor and respect, treat others carefully, improve self-confidence, communicate and cooperate, and accept others even if they are different.”

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