Dancing Classrooms Phoenix uses a curriculum-based teaching approach to achieve social awareness and build self-esteem. Students are taught the vocabulary of various contemporary social dances in a classroom setting. Each class in the series introduces new steps, reinforcing what has been previously learned through practice and repetition.
Founder, Pierre Dulaine The Dancing Classrooms program was first launched in 1994, by Pierre Dulaine as a not-for-profit project of the American Ballroom Theater Company in New York City. It is an arts-in-education program teaching ballroom dance to the upper elementary school students of participating schools.
Dulaine founded Dancing Classrooms, a Social and Emotional development program designed for 5th grade children that uses ballroom dancing as a vehicle to instill good manners, teamwork and build self-esteem. Dulaine initially began the Dancing Classrooms program for the New York City Department of Education. The "Dulaine Method" which he invented, encourages children to dance together by doing a variety of dances including the meringue, fox trot and swing.
A documentary based on the program, Mad Hot Ballroom, looks inside the lives of 11-year-old New York City public school kids who journey into the world of ballroom dancing as participants and competitors of Dancing Classrooms. A second film, Take The Lead (starring Antonio Banderas) was released in 2006. This film highlights Dulaine and his success in starting this program in inter-city schools and eventually bringing these school children together, In 2014, IFC (Independent Film Channel) released Dancing In Jaffa which chronicled the implementation of the Dancing Classrooms program in Pierre’s birth city of Jaffa. There, Pierre spent 10 weeks teaching Jewish and Palestinian Israeli children to dance and compete together. These films greatly accelerated national and international interest in Dancing Classrooms and today there are over 25 locations globally that teach this dance curriculum.
Children in Dancing Classrooms Program Step Out and SHINE 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 which allows students who are typically introverted and reserved, to step out and shine. It focuses physical energies and increases health through the joy of movement. It builds self-esteem and interactive social skills as it improves confidence and children’s ability to relate to others.
Our teaching philosophy is one of inside out versus outside in. The program is not just about teaching dance, it’s about teaching pride, confidence and respect. We take the dance that is inherent in students’ bodies and help them to bring it out, not force it in, enabling students to increase their self-esteem as they learn. Our classes serve a diverse population of children and languages. Classes are conducted in English. All students are welcome; there are no pre-requisites and experience is never required. Dancing Classrooms’ courses culminate in social activities geared toward family members, such as an evening dance for students with their parents, an assembly performance complete with literacy components, or a Ballroom Breakfast.