Take the Lead North Carolina has been awarded a Wells Fargo Arts in Education grant by the Arts Council of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County.
Take the Lead will use the grant to implement its Dancing Classrooms program at Easton Elementary School. Eighty-seven fifth graders at Easton, as well as their teachers, will participate at no cost to the school or students. They will learn dance moves in preparation for the Dancing Classrooms Team Match Competition in December, when Easton will compete against Forest Park, Hall Woodward, Old Town and Shady Grove (in Davie County) elementary schools for gold, silver and bronze medals in the tango, foxtrot, swing, merengue and rumba. The competition will take place at Easton on Dec. 12.
“We are committed to educating the whole child. Too often, we forget the importance of dance and movement and how they need to be connected to learning,” said Easton Principal Bea Veto. “Dancing Classrooms develops experience, helps the students problem solve and grow as they learn. It provides positive socialization and 21st Century skills of cooperation and negotiation. And it’s fun! The students need to know that learning is fun.”
Dancing Classrooms Site Director Ann Guill is grateful that the Arts Council has embraced the program and is pleased to see Dancing Classrooms grow locally from serving two schools in 2009 to serving more than 15 schools today.
Dancing Classrooms, which started in New York City in 1994, wraps life lessons around ballroom dancing and is an arts in education, youth and character development program that promotes healthy living and gives its students a leg up for success.
The Dancing Classrooms program has been chronicled widely in national and international news coverage, as well as in “Mad Hot Ballroom,” an award-winning documentary, and “Take the Lead,” a feature film starring Antonio Banderas as the program’s founder, Pierre Dulaine.