Dancing Classrooms, a social development program for fifth grade scholars, uses ballroom dance to impact the students participating in the program and the teachers and parents who support them. Dancing Classrooms teaches scholars to break down social barriers, improve self-confidence, communicate and cooperate.
During the 10-weeks and 20 sessions, scholars learn the origin and steps to the Merengue, Foxtrot, Rumba, Tango, Swing and Waltz, plus fun line dances. Ballroom dance instills lessons of honor, respect and acceptance of others even if they are different. The rich, varied and often unfamiliar (to fifth grade scholars) vocabulary of dance helps explore areas of commonality and cultural awareness.
“For example, think of classmates who are at odds and refuse to work together or connect in any way,” said Dancing Classrooms Founding Executive Director Jo Jo Carcloppolo. “[Throughout the 10 weeks] these students lower their barriers and build the skill set to successfully work together toward a common goal.”
At Eastwood, Kayla Davis and Tori Muellauer, both formally-educated and trained dance instructors teach the classes. Muellauer says the fifth graders partner with each other very well and get excited about learning different dances. Dancing scholars Alana H., Tarrell M. and Kara W. all agree Dancing Classrooms is fun with great music. And the trio went on to explain how the program helps them build bonds with their classmates.
As Dancing Classrooms concludes, students showcase their newfound ballroom dance skills at a culminating event November 30, 2 p.m. at Eastwood, where parents and families are invited to attend. Also, twelve dancing scholars will represent Eastwood and Warrensville Heights City School District at the Colors of the Rainbow Team Match at Cuyahoga Community College’s Metro Campus January 23, 2018. Each competing student receives a scholarship to the Tri-C’s Performing Arts Camp.