My Team’s Color is the Rainbow

Our teaching artists ( left to right) Ashley Douglas, Gena Melago, Jennifer Milligan, Rozana Sweeney, and Terry Sweeney.

One of the first things I had to do, when we decided to bring Dancing Classrooms to Pittsburgh, was to find the right people to be our teaching artists.  We wanted people who would be dedicated, have a working knowledge of dance-and not necessarily in ballroom, have worked with kids, most likely stay in Pittsburgh for awhile, and have a desire to help transform lives….one step at a time.

The five teaching artists that we currently have fit that bill to a tee!  We couldn’t be prouder of the work that they do!   At our recent semi-final, I had remarked to Rozana Sweeney at how great all of the teams looked.  She agreed with me and commented how it would be a very close competition.  And that it was.

You see, our teaching artists go through a rigorous training.  All five of them had completed a week of training in New York with Pierre Dulaine, the founder of Dancing Classrooms.  His first order of business is to tell all of the aspiring teaching artists, that if they are ballroom dancers, to leave there bags at the door.  He would be introducing them to a whole new way of thinking.  He was right.  All five of them had come back from New York with a twinkle in their eye-the type of twinkle that one has when they are ready and eager to make a difference.  And that they have done.

This past Saturday, all of the teams were perfectly synchronized during the warm ups.  Every student in Pittsburgh, learns the dances the same way.  With all the same vocabulary.  The same as the students do in Dallas/Fort worth.  The same as the students do in Cleveland.  The same as the students do in Seattle.  The same as the students do in Jaffa, Israel.

It is a testament to Mr. Dulaine.  But as we see it in Pittsburgh, it is a testament to the five people in the picture above.  Our young ladies and gentleman are fortunate to be learning from them.  Although, most of the time, they will tell you how much they have learned from their young ladies and gentleman.

On behalf of Pittsburgh Mercy Health System and Dancing Classrooms Pittsburgh, on behalf of the 20 schools that you all have worked in this year, and on behalf of the almost 1,000 young ladies and gentleman of the Pittsburgh Public Schools and the Extra Mile Foundation…..THANK YOU!

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