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Every school in the US should do this!
Posted by jofjonesboro
12/16/2008  1:06:00 PM
School Dance Education in UK
The article is a couple of weeks old but it's a great story.

I know that a few isolated school systems in the US have tried some form of dance education (remember "Mad Hot Ballroom"?) but the idea has really not spread very far.

Having been a public school teacher years ago, I am absolutely certain that adding ballroom dancing (including Latin) to a school's curriculum would do a great deal to promote self-confidence and respect for others, especially girls.

Of course, given the regressive political climate in the US, this proposal has absolutely no chance whatsoever of being implemented except in a few progressive areas.

Great idea, though.

Re: Every school in the US should do this!
Posted by Polished
12/16/2008  3:02:00 PM
jofjonesboro. Anybody who cares to Google Dance Easy and go to Dance Easy will see that we have a government program for teaching Ballroom Dancing in schools Public or otherwise. Some European countries have been doing this for years. Some teachers here are making a reasonable living teaching in schools every week.
Some schools are obviously off the beaten track. They can apply and get fee a Dance Pack which will help a Phys
Ed teacher on how to go about it.
Re: Every school in the US should do this!
Posted by dheun
12/16/2008  3:56:00 PM
Since the documentary "Mad Hot Ballroom" was released a few years ago, I have often said that ballroom dancing in our schools would be an excellent course study. The film shows what it does for kids in New York public schools, so why wouldn't it work just about everywhere? Cost and time would be the most likely hindrance to this idea, plus you need some people who know and love ballroom to spearhead it. I know our dance studio did a short series in some of the elementary schools, introducing kids to ballroom. And it went over quite well. But no one in the school system is progressive enough to embrace and promote it as a widespread program.
Re: Every school in the US should do this!
Posted by madiemer
12/16/2008  4:58:00 PM
Chicago Public Schools promotes ballroom dance as part of its 5th grade curriculum - students in its "Having a Ball" ballroom dance intensive learn a combination of Latin and Standard dances and meet 3 times per week during the regular school day. Ideally it would be more wide spread however funding is (as always) an issue. However the positive impact on the children who do get to participate is incredible.
I've read about that program in Chicago.
Posted by jofjonesboro
12/16/2008  5:53:00 PM
Wasn't that program started under the guy whom President-elect Obama will nominate to be Secretary of Education?

Re: Every school in the US should do this!
Posted by steveontheloose
12/16/2008  10:28:00 PM
if there are only positive results who among us is going to go to their local school board and volunteer to run the extracurricular activity?
Re: Every school in the US should do this!
Posted by belleofyourball
12/16/2008  11:06:00 PM
You know when I ran a Charter School I actually incorporated Ballroom Dance. I had an At-Risk population (High School).

To begin with the students really didn't want to take part but after a few lessons they were doing well and looking forward to the activity. We even put on a Showcase with about 500 people in attendance.

The research indicates that students who take Ballroom present fewer behavioral challenges, have less depression and in fact, it actually improves their ability to read. Yes this is real forthcoming ed research. It helps with confidence, and many of the students wanted to continue on.

The Dept. of Ed in AZ felt differently. Even though we were a performing plus school they felt anything that strayed from the basics was a waste of time and taxpayers money and put heavy pressure on the school to discontinue the program.

There are a few around who put it into their PE program, but the problem isn't just the individual schools or student perceptions, its the State Legislatures. Until they stop feeling the pressure fom NCLB there will be no Ballroom, and really no other arts in any public schools in a way that counts.
NCLB is a crime against children.
Posted by jofjonesboro
12/17/2008  10:41:00 AM
That piece of legislation may be the worst thing to happen to education in the US since public schools were founded (No-think schools.).

It literally hurts to think of the pain that the students in the program must have felt when it was pulled out from under them. They must feel that no one gives a damn about them - and they wouldn't be wrong.

The great news is the research that you mention. I'm eager to see it but the outcomes that you describe are hardly surprising to anyone who has studied dancing.

Thanks for the information.

Re: Every school in the US should do this!
Posted by Kay
12/17/2008  8:36:00 AM
I've googled Dance Easy and can't find anything about teaching ballroom in the schools. Can you give me more info? I've been trying to teach some basic ballroom to 4-6th graders for a few years now and would like to see what this program is about.
Re: Every school in the US should do this!
Posted by Anonymous
12/17/2008  12:53:00 PM
Not sure about Dance Easy but if you would like to see more about the Chicago Public Schools program visit http://www.cpsarts.org/dance/program_information
Re: Every school in the US should do this!
Posted by Polished
12/18/2008  2:05:00 PM
You wont find any instructions. It just tells that there is a package called Dance Easy in Australia which is a Education Department project and has been runnung for a number of years and has spread from Victoria to all the states in Australia. Your main problem at a school will be seemingly lack of interest by boys. This program handles that part of the problem.
Yourself always push forward the words Dancing is a Social Asset. Once learnt will stay with you forever.Good Luck
Re: Every school in the US should do this!
Posted by kaiara
12/19/2008  5:38:00 AM
I SO agree that ballroom should be taught at part of P.E. I also think that other exercises that can be done well into old age should be taught.

I'd like to see square dance taught as well.

Both ballroom and square dance are good because there are resources all over the country for them. I've lived few places where a space with a sound system and even often a caller were not available.

School: only a few students really benefit from all that money that goes into sports. A more comprehensive health and wellness based exercise class would be more in order considering most people will have ordinary jobs and need to have learned to do some things that are exercise and not just sports.

I hated PE as a child--but if we had been doing ballroom--I would have LOVED PE as a child--and might have spent fewer years as an adult being too sedentary for good health.
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