Dancing Classrooms was launched in 1994 as a not-for-profit project of the American Ballroom Theater Company (ABrT) in New York City. This program has taught thousands of upper elementary and middle school students in New York City the essentials of ballroom dancing and was the basis for the 2005 documentary Mad Hot Ballroom. This documentary highlighted the transformation that occurs in students from the first day of class to the culminating event after the 20 session residency.
In 2006, Dancing Classrooms began expanding throughout the US and internationally to nearly 20 locations. In 2011, the Virgin Islands joined the program. Since then, Dancing Classrooms Virgin Islands (DCVI) has provided essential life skills to children on all three islands of the United States Virgin Islands. To date over 5,000 children have benefited from this program.
DCVI is an in-school, social and emotional learning program that cultivates essential life skills in fifth and eighth-grade students through the practice of ballroom dance. With core values of compassion, civility, respect, teamwork, and self-discipline, parents are constantly amazed and touched by the changes they see in their children when they complete the program.
“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 ... This program is about more than dance, it is about teaching children to take a bow.”
~ Pierre Dulaine & Yvonne Marceau, Co-Founders, Dancing Classrooms.
Our mission is to cultivate essential life skills in children through the art of social dance. Our vision is to help create schools and communities where every child is connected, respected, and provided a safe environment in which to thrive.
Through standards-based, in-school residencies, we use the vocabulary of ballroom dance to cultivate the positive feelings that are inherent in every child. The maturity necessary to dance together foster respect, teamwork, confidence and a sense of joy and accomplishment, which we hope to bring to every child. Ballroom dance is the medium we use to nurture these qualities.