In step with teaching artist Luisa Nayhouse

By Luisa Nayhouse

Ms. Luisa prepares students from Pittsburgh Whittier K-5 for competition in May 2011

It’s been just over a year since I trained with Pierre Dulaine in New York City to become a teaching artist for Dancing Classrooms.

The fall 2011 semester was especially meaningful to me. When we started at Pittsburgh West Liberty in September, it seemed as though a few students were on a mission to disrupt our classes. With one term of experience at Pittsburgh Whittier in the spring of 2011, and because of my psychology background, I felt more than prepared to handle and manage the classroom despite the challenges. Continue reading

It’s me, you and the dance floor: Dancing Classrooms Pittsburgh semi-finals [video]

Four elementary schools take top honors in Dancing Classrooms Pittsburgh Colors of the Rainbow, advance to finals

A jubilant "red team," Pittsburgh Dilworth, celebrates advancing to the finals of Dancing Classrooms Pittsburgh ballroom competition (©2011 Archie Carpenter)

Today, teams of fifth graders from four Pittsburgh Public Schools — Pittsburgh Carmalt PreK-8, Pittsburgh Dilworth PreK-5, Pittsburgh Linden K-5 and Pittsburgh Whittier K-5 — took top honors in the Colors of the Rainbow semi-finals for the winter/spring 2011 semester of Mercy Behavioral Health’s Dancing Classrooms Pittsburgh.

For their stellar performances, those four teams earned gold medals — and more importantly — guaranteed  spots for their respective schools in 2010-2011 finals on May 21, 2011. Continue reading

Pittsburgh Whittier dancers draw a crowd

In December 2010, Dancing Classrooms Pittsburgh Site Director Mark Rogalsky explained to all principals the importance of their involvement to the program’s success.  Pittsburgh Whittier Principal Elaine Wallace took that message to heart.  Of the 20 lessons, Ms. Wallace attended nearly all.  As a result, she was a true inspiration to her students.

The elementary school’s commitment went further. Alicia Krall, developmental adviser for Whittier, attended every class and participated.  Ms. Krall learned all the dances and filled in when partners were needed. Mercy Behavioral Health applauds the effort put forth by the entire staff at Whittier in their inaugural year of Dancing Classrooms.  It was sincere.  It was spectacular.  It was downright awesome. Continue reading

Team colors chosen for May 7 Colors of the Rainbow semi-finals

You know we’re getting close to the competition when we start talking about color selection.  After a random drawing, here are the team colors for Dancing Classrooms Pittsburgh  Colors of the Rainbow semi-finals.

Red: Pittsburgh Dilworth PreK-5
Magenta: Pittsburgh Montessori K-8
Orange: Pittsburgh Linden K-5
Yellow: Pittsburgh Fulton K-5
Green: Pittsburgh Whittier K-5
Blue: Pittsburgh Arsenal K-5
Purple: Pittsburgh Carmalt PreK-8

The ballroom dance competition for fifth graders, presented by Mercy Behavioral Health, will take place  on Saturday, May 7  in the auditorium at Pittsburgh Allderdice High School. The event is free and open to the public.