Dancing Classrooms, Inc
- New York
Mission & History
The mission of Dancing Classrooms is to cultivate essential life skills in students through the practice of social dance. Through standards-based, in-school residencies, we use the vocabulary of ballroom dance to cultivate the positive feelings that are inherent in every child. The maturity necessary to dance together fosters respect, teamwork, discipline, confidence and a sense of joy and accomplishment. Dancing Classrooms helps increase attention spans; raises parental involvement; provides physical activity; and teaches good sportsmanship.
Dancing Classrooms was launched in 1994 as a not-for-profit project of the American Ballroom Theater Company (ABrT) in New York City. It is an arts education program teaching ballroom dance to the upper elementary and middle school students of participating public schools around the five boroughs. ABrT was founded in 1984 as a ballroom dance performing arts company under the direction of Pierre Dulaine, Yvonne Marceau and Otto Cappel. Dulaine and Marceau became dance partners in 1976 and won numerous awards and accolades. Notable awards include the 1977, '78, '79 and '82 British Exhibition Championships, Dance Magazine's award for excellence, the National Dance Council of America award, the Dance Educators of America award, and the Americans for the Arts "Arts in Education" 2005 award.
With the ultimate vision of establishing schools and communities where every child is connected, respected, and provided a safe environment in which to thrive, in 2006, Dancing Classrooms began spreading throughout the US and internationally. As of 2012, the program has expanded to 22 cities, 15 states, 3 countries and the US Virgin Islands. Dancing Classrooms now serves nearly 45,000 students annually in over 500 schools and nearly 1,500 classrooms. Aside from the New York City program, participating locations include Newark, NJ; Omaha, NE; Fort Worth/Dallas, TX; Philadelphia, PA; Fort Myers, FL; the Florida Keys, FL; Cleveland, OH; Lake Charles, LA; Monterey, CA; Phoenix, AZ; Toronto, Canada; and Geneva, Switzerland.