Dancing Classrooms was launched in 1994 as a not-for-profit project of the American Ballroom Theater Company. It is an arts-in-education program teaching ballroom dance to the upper elementary, junior high and high school students of participating schools. As seen in the documentary film Mad Hot Ballroom, Dancing Classrooms is an in-school residency for every child, regardless of background or experience. It was brought to Lee County Public Schools through the generosity of Margaret Antonier, President and CEO of Miromar Development Corp. and is being administered by the Foundation for Lee County Public Schools, Inc.

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.

“Dancing is about connections to our friends, to our families, 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.” – Pierre Dulaine & Yvonne Marceau

Dancing Classrooms’ mission is to build social awareness, confidence and self-esteem in children through the practice of social dance. Through the Foundation for Lee County Public Schools, Inc. and Miromar Outlets, Lee County is the first to offer Dancing Classrooms to fifth grade students at Title I schools in the state of Florida. At the culmination of the 10 week session, the students are able to show the community their acquired skills at many exhibitions at Miromar Outlets and the Miromar Design Center. We are in need of additional funding to expand this program to all Title I schools in the District.