Judy Everett Ramos, 817-399-2025

Fifth Grade Ballroom Dance Semi-finals This Friday
10 Teams in Dancing Classrooms North Texas Event

While high school bands and football teams march and tackle their way to awards and titles, fifth grade ballroom dance teams from 10 elementary schools will tango and swing to earn three spots to advance to ballroom dance finals.

On Friday, judges will award three gold, four silver, and three bronze medals, and the gold medal schools will advance to the finals May 1, 2008.

The district will host the Dancing Classrooms North Texas semi-finals competition, December 7, at L.D. Bell High School.

Dancing Classrooms North Texas went from a pilot program to being offered at all 19 of the district’s elementary schools – 10 this fall and the other nine, beginning in January – and the remaining nine elementary schools will have their own semi-finals round in late spring, for another shot at three gold medals.

Then, those six HEB schools will meet up with Dallas schools May 1, 2008 for the Colors of the Rainbow Team Match. Dallas ISD had its fall semi-finals December 3.

It all kicks off December 7. Each of the 10 schools has already selected their performers for the semi-finals. Students have learned several ballroom dances during the 10 weeks of classes. Students demonstrated their dance skills for fellow students and parents at recent campus performances. They will perform five specific dances on Friday.

There will be five pairs of dancers, and each pair will perform the dance in which they specialize - merengue, rumba, tango, foxtrot, and swing. Each school will have a pair of team captains, who are prepared to step in if someone cannot perform that evening.

The May 2008 finals will be held in Arlington, at the Metro Center of Fielder Road Baptist Church.

The 10 schools at the December 7 semi-finals will be Bedford Heights, Bellaire, Donna Park, Hurst Hills, Harrison Lane, River Trails, Shady Brook, Shady Oaks, Stonegate, and West Hurst.

Dancing Classrooms North Texas is a social development program designed to use dance to teach fifth grade students to work as a team, to use proper manners and dance etiquette, and to treat students and adults with respect.

Research conducted by UTA on HEB and Fort Worth schools in 2006 showed that the dance classes had significant impact on students’ social awareness, including optimism and self confidence, and social support.

The program originated in New York and was the subject of an award-winning documentary, "Mad Hot Ballroom," and a feature film, "Take The Lead."

Dancing Classrooms North Texas is another example of the many innovative programs available to HEB ISD students. This program is available because of the district’s membership in Tarrant County Youth Collaboration (TCYC), which contacted Pierre Dulaine, the program’s founder. TCYC is acting as project implementation manager.