The Dudley T. Dougherty Foundation

Dancing Classrooms South Puget Sound

Grant Information
Categories Arts , Education , Community
Location United States
Cycle Year 2010
Organization Information
Organization Name (provided by applicant) Pacific Ballroom Dance
Organization Name (provided by automatic EIN validation)
Contact Information
Contact Name Heather Longhurst
Phone 206-914-9795
1604 15th St SW
Suite 109
Additional Information
Used for Funding from the Dougherty Foundation will be used to provide the Dancing Classrooms program to 10 elementary school classrooms in the South Puget Sound region. Dancing Classrooms is a standards-based social development program that utilizes ballroom dance. The program was founded in 1994 by Pierre Dulaine in the public schools of New York and has been featured in the documentary “Mad Hot Ballroom” and the feature film “Take the Lead.” In the 2009-2010 school year, over 45,000 children were inspired and educated through the Dancing Classrooms program in 500 schools in 19 cities.
Benefits The Dancing Classrooms program plants the seeds for strong future citizens, which means a better world for all of us. Studies show that students who receive the Dancing Classrooms program have higher self-esteem, improved academic performance, improved social skills, and simply know how to treat each other better. Students who participate also have improved physical development and coordination, among other health benefits.
Proposal Description Pacific Ballroom Dance is bringing the Dancing classrooms program to the South Puget Sound region. In Fall 2010, we launched our pilot program which included 8 classrooms at 3 schools. The interest for the program continues to build as more and more schools hear about the program and want to get involved. We hope to reach 16 classrooms in our Winter 2011 session.

The Dancing Classrooms program is a 20-session program that targets 5th graders. Studies (and experience) have shown that this is the perfect age for the children the get the most impact from the program. Each fifth grade classroom receives two 45-minute lessons per week over a ten week time period. The program is often integrated into the PE class, but can be partnered with any subject from math to writing to history.

A Teaching Artist who is trained by Pierre Dulaine in the Dulaine Method comes to each classroom and administers the program. All 5th grade teachers are involved and participate with their students in the experience.

By bringing the Dancing Classrooms program into schools in our area, we hope to see results similar to those observed across the country.

The Dancing Classrooms program has been tremendously successful in cities nationwide. In a Principal Survey of 240 New York City principals in the 2008-2009 school year:

96% saw a positive change in the way children treated each other
92% saw improvement in the school climate
81% believe the program improved academic performance
80% thought the program improved behavior management problems
70% though the program increased parental involvement

Philliber Research Associates of St. Louis, Missouri conducted a survey with these results. Respondents agreed that Dancing Classrooms:

• Helped students overcome social anxieties
• Enhanced respect and increased social skills
• Increased student confidence and self-esteem
• Increased student awareness of other cultures
• Increased student physical development, coordination and participation in physical activity

Dancing Classrooms cost per classroom: $3,500
(The cost per classroom is a national average reflecting what it costs to provide the program on a per classroom basis. This figure includes training and travel for teaching artists, teaching fees, administrative expenses, license fees, etc.)
Number of 5th Grade Classrooms: 10
Total Project Expense: $35,000

School Fees: $17,500 (Each school pays for half of the cost of the program for their school.)
Amount Requested from the Dougherty Foundation: $17,500 (Will fund the portion not covered by the schools and provide the program to 10 classrooms.)
Total Project Income: $35,000

Statement from Principal Andrew Song, one of the principals who is participating in our pilot program:

As the principal of Ridgewood Elementary, I am constantly thinking about what and how we are successfully preparing all of our children for the future. In these days of academic accountability and fiscal hardship, it would be convenient in the name of expediency to concentrate only on the “basics” – but that would be doing our students a disservice. Everything is connected to everything else. So when we think about teaching the whole child, we are also thinking about social skills and teaching how to
approach life with passion and energy.

In my estimation, the Dancing Classrooms program offers many elements that address the needs of the whole child. It offers students an opportunity to learn and apply social skills lessons within a real life, experiential context. It provides students with role models who are passionate about their work, living examples of how hard work translates into success. It promotes positive peer interactions and respectful behaviors. There is enough potential in this program that several school administrators, including myself, are willing to take the first step forward with this program. The Ridgewood PTA and teachers also support it.

Research shows us that learning is an experiential process, that knowledge must be used in context in order for it to be meaningful and lasting. Research also shows us that when school is a positive experience, we want more of it. Dancing Classrooms can be that piece of the puzzle that wakens the sense of possibilities for a student.

I will leave you with a quote [sic]:
“My friends there was dancing here in the streets of Huntsville when our first satellite orbited the earth. There was dancing again when the first Americans landed on the moon. I'd like to ask you, don't hang up your dancing slippers." – von Braun

Please help us keep our students dancing.


Andrew Song, Principal
Ridgewood Elementary