USA Dance Youth Program - Dickson Elementary

USA Dance Youth Program - Dickson Elementary


Date added to ADN: Fri, May 09, 2014
Originally Published: Fri, May 09, 2014
by Janet Smith (About the Author)

Emily Beitler, sixth grade teacher at Dickson Elementary school in Pittsburgh, PA, was looking for a program to enhance student learning, teach etiquette while encouraging respect. She had seen the movie "Mad Hot Ballroom" and the compelling true story of the power of ballroom dance to transform youth was enough to convince her that a ballroom dance program was the ticket to bring about positive change at Dickson school. Emily approached the Pittsburgh Chapter of USA dance asking if they would consider starting a youth ballroom dance program.

Janet Smith, board member of USA dance Chapter 3007, saw the opportunity for outreach and agreed to launch a pilot program. Dance professional Amanda Wolf was consulted and hired to train volunteers and teachers how to instruct young students. Three dances were chosen: Merengue, Rumba and Hustle.

Equipped with Amanda's training, the program for was launched in February. The school staff was heavily supportive of this program to teach the 60 sixth graders the basics of three ballroom dances. Instruction was held once a week for 13 weeks.

A culminating event was needed to show friends and family what had been learned with pride. Staff provided the inspiration for a May 2 recital. When a neighborhood bridal shop and a shop renting tuxedos were approach a partnership was born. Dresses and tuxedos were provided free of charge for all the 60 students.

The May 2 recital was an enormous success. Several hundred parents and friends and school board members attended. It was a standing room only crowd. One of the major Pittsburgh newspaper responded to the press release. The students showed off their ballroom dance steps and proudly worn the dresses and tuxedos that were donated. It was an evening to remember. Conversations are underway about building on this initial youth program. Clearly there is more to come.


About the Author:
Board Member and Chair of the Youth Program

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USA Dance (Pittsburgh) Chapter #3007
We support dancing and hold monthly ballroom dances and social dance events at various locations in the Pittsburgh area.... More Info >>
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