Pittsburgh teaching artists Terry Sweeney and Rozana Sweeney with program founder Pierre Dulaine at the kickoff reception for Dancing Classrooms Pittsburgh (© 2009 Archie Carpenter)

In 1994, dance champions and Broadway dance couple Pierre Dulaine and Yvonne Marceau launched Dancing Classrooms as the educational arm of American Ballroom Theater Company in New York City. Dancing Classrooms is an arts-in-education program that teaches ballroom dance to more than 50,000 students of participating schools. The acclaimed program is about much more than dance. Dancing Classrooms was the inspiration for the documentary “Mad Hot Ballroom” the movie “Take the Lead,” featuring Antonio Banderas as Pierre Dulaine, and most recently, “Dancing in Jaffa,” where Mr. Dulaine returned to his home town of Jaffa, Israel to teach Palestinian and Israeli children to dance together.

Pittsburgh Mercy introduced Dancing Classrooms to our community in 2009. To date, more than 6,000 children in Pittsburgh Public Schools, Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh/Extra Mile Education Foundation elementary schools, Urban Academy Charter School,  West Mifflin Area Middle School, and Environmental Charter School at Frick Park have benefited from this program.  In the Winter Semester of 2018, Community Day School will be joining the ranks of schools participating.

The mission of Dancing Classrooms Pittsburgh is to build positive social awareness, confidence, and self-esteem in children through the practice of social dance and curriculum-based teaching.  Students learn the vocabulary of various ballroom and contemporary dances and experience the reinforcement of positive social manners and respect, key components to the program. Research findings indicate significant improvement regarding their perception of social support, diversity interaction, self-worth, and school success.

More than 300,000 children have participated in Dancing Classrooms programs worldwide. During the 2013-2014 school year, Dancing Classrooms served 42,000 children in 505 schools in 23 cities.

For more information  on the national network of programs, visit Dancing Classrooms official website.