Dancing Classrooms was launched in 1994 as a not-for-profit project of the American Ballroom Theater Company in New York City. It is an arts-in-education program using ballroom dance as a social skills development tool for students in the 5th and 8th grade of participating schools. As seen in the documentary film Mad Hot Ballroom
, Dancing Classrooms is an inclusive, in-school residency program applicable to every child, regardless of his or her background or experience.
While Dancing Classrooms has been hailed as an effective program for teaching social dance, the program provides many other benefits
. Dancing Classrooms is about creating an atmosphere that allows students who are typically introverted and reserved to step out and shine. It focuses physical energy and increases health through the joy of movement. It builds self-esteem and interactive social skills as it improves children’s confidence and ability to relate to others.
Dancing is about connections to our friends, to our families, and to our neighbors. It is one of the most expressive ways we celebrate and communicate our cultures and communities. With Dancing Classrooms, we are able to reach children in existing classroom settings and address fundamental issues of mutual respect and self-esteem, issues that social dance puts into practice. We hope to inspire children through dance to do well, to respect one another, to be proud. This program is about more than dance; it is about teaching children to take a bow.
Dancing Classrooms is presently serving approximately 50,000 students in 525 schools in the following communities: New York City, Omaha, Fort Worth/Dallas, Newark, Toronto, Philadelphia, Long Island, Fort Myers, Florida Keys, Cleveland, Monterey, Lake Charles (LA), Geneva (Switzerland), Pittsburgh, St. Louis, US Virgin Islands, Winston-Salem, Santa Cruz, Seattle, Los Angeles, and Stamford (CT), Western Maryland, Washington (DC) and Greater Richmond (VA)