It was a great Saturday at Pittsburgh Allderdice as our nine semifinal teams battled it out.  Close as always….Here are the results.  Gold teams adavnce to the finals Saturday May 2nd, 10am  Pittsburgh Allderdice High School!

#DancingClassrooms Pittsburgh!!!!!

All photos by the one and only Archie Carpenter


Pittsburgh Banksville
Pittsburgh Colfax
Pittsburgh Colfax
Pittsburgh Lincoln
Pittsburgh Lincoln
Pittsburgh Linden
Pittsburgh Linden
Urban League Charter School
Urban League Charter School


Pittsburgh Brookline
Pittsburgh Brookline
Pittsburgh Carmalt
Pittsburgh Carmalt
Pittsburgh COncord
Pittsburgh Concord

Environmental Charter School at Frick Park
Environmental Charter School at Frick Park

2014 5th grade Finals video is here


Here is the video from the finals…..enjoy


Dancing in Jaffa at JFilm Pittsburgh

Dancing in Jaffa at JFilm Pittsburgh

Coming to Pittsburgh for one show on March 30, 2014-Dancing in Jaffa!  Watch Mr Dulaine as he works to get Israeli and Palestinian students to dance together!  It will be a special evening!  Oh-we will also have some students there to dance along with Ms. Rozana and Mr Terry!  Hope to see you there!

It’s January! Time for the start of new classes!!!!

Pittsburgh Montessori (front), Pittsburgh Sunnyside, Pittsburgh Roosevelt
It won’t be long before everyone is on the big stage…..

After a successful fall calendar-our teaching artist’s have started back to work already!

Despite the cold and the snow here is the line-up:

5th grade:

Pittsburgh Banksville-taught by Ms. Gena Melago

Pittsburgh Brookline-taught by Ms. Gena Melago

Pittsburgh Concord-taught by Ms. Jennifer Milligan

Pittsburgh Colfax-taught by Ms. Jennifer Milligan

Pittsburgh Linden-taught by Ms. Jen Hoffman

Pittsburgh Manchester-taught by Ms. Kathy Moran

Pittsburgh Phillips-taught by Ms. Jen Hoffman

Pittsburgh Spring HIll-taught by Mr. Terry Sweeney

Pittsburgh Sunnyside-taught by Ms. Jennifer Milligan

Pittsburgh Weil-taught by Ms. Ashley Douglas

8th grade:

Pittsburgh Arsenal-taught by Ms. Jennifer Milligan and Mr. Terry Sweeney

Pittsburgh Brookline-taught by Ms. Gena Melago

Pittsburgh Langley-taught by Ms. Gena Melago

Pittsburgh Montessori-taught by Ms. Gena Melago

Sister Thea Bowman Academy-taught by Ms. Rozana Sweeney

St. Benedict the Moor-taught by Ms. Rozana Sweeney

Watch for updates and pictures!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The Original Dance Moms

The "Dance Moms" of Dancing Classrooms Pittsburgh.  (left to right) Sally Rogalsky, Janet Yuhasz, Stephanie Murtaugh, Michelle Rone Cooper, Dr. Barbara Rudiak, Cindy Thomas  photo by Archie Carpenter
The “Dance Moms” of Dancing Classrooms Pittsburgh. (left to right) Sally Rogalsky, Janet Yuhasz, Stephanie Murtaugh,
Michele Rone Cooper,
Dr. Barbara Rudiak, Cindy Thomas photo by Archie Carpenter 2013

While the reality TV show , “Dance Moms,” is set in Pittsburgh.  They are not the original ones.

Dancing Classrooms Pittsburgh officially kicked off Mother’s Day weekend 2013 by recognizing our “Original Dance Moms.”  That’s right-our six dance moms pictured above were honored for their “unrelenting and never-ending support of Dancing Classrooms.”  Each “mom” played a key role in the evolution of Dancing Classrooms Pittsburgh.

After seeing Mad Hot Ballroom in the theater, Sally Rogalsky called her son, Mark, to encourage him to take his children to see the movie.  Needless to say he didn’t, but upon viewing it a year later, thought it would be a great addition to prevention programming that he oversaw in the Pittsburgh Public Schools.

A phone call was then placed to Janet Yuhasz-Student Services Coordinator in the Pittsburgh Public Schools-where he told her about Dancing Classrooms and it’s virtues.  Hmm, something to think about.

One day during supervision, Mark raised the idea of a new and innovative addition to the Pittsburgh Mercy Health System’s prevention department.  What could it be?  Dancing Classrooms, of course.  Stephanie Murtaugh was given copies of Mad Hot Ballroom and Take the Lead (with Antonio Banderas) to watch and see what the program was all about.  After watching the movies, her interest was peaked, and the movement was on to bring this program to Pittsburgh.

Not too long after that meeting, a conference call took place, with McAuley Ministries and their executive director, Michele Rone Cooper.  The subject matter was not Dancing Classrooms  but Ms. Murtaugh was so excited about DC, that she told Ms. Cooper, who in turn got very excited about it-you could hear in her voice that this was something she was interested in helping with.

A meeting was set where the National Network Director for Dancing Classrooms came to town.  Potential funders, agency personnel, school personnel and others were invited.  Dr. Barbara Rudiak, an assistant superintendent for the Pittsburgh Public Schools announced that the district stood behind the program and would welcome it into their schools.  Dr. Rudiak had heard of the program years before, and had even brought along future teaching artists, Rozana and Terry Sweeney to this meeting.  It was also during this meeting, that Cindy Thomas, the executive director of Tobacco Free Allegheny, stepped forward and offered financial support of the program.

We felt that these six women should be honored for the roles they played in the creation of Dancing Classrooms Pittsburgh.  They are at every event, and they take every opportunity they can to tell others of the success of the program.  We would not be where we are today without them.

On behalf of the principals of the schools and their staff, on behalf of the teaching artists, on behalf of the Prevention Staff of PMHS, on behalf of the almost 3000 students in the Pittsburgh area  whose lives have been changed by Dancing Classrooms, we all say “Thank You, Partner.”

May 4, 2013 Semi-Final Video is here!

Just to prove how tough the competition was this past Saturday-check out our video.  Filled with pictures by Archie Carpenter and a few by our own PMHS Prevention staff members.  Archie always captures the essence of Dancing Classrooms.  And there is nothing more that we enjoy than sharing the love with you.  If this doesn’t encourage you to come see the talent on Saturday May 11th, 10am Pittsburgh Allderdice High School.

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!

The countdown is on! Semi-finals 10am Saturday May 4

Will you be crossing your fingers for good luck?
Will you be crossing your fingers for good luck?

Will it be Pittsburgh Banksville?  Will it be St. Benedict the Moor?  Will it be Pittsburgh Spring Hill   What about returning champion Pittsburgh Linden?  Or maybe it will be Pittsburgh Colfax? But let’s not forget about Pittsburgh Miller and Pittsburgh Weil?  But then again, maybe the trophy will go back to the very first champion, Pittsburgh Phillips…..

In any case, you need to make sure you are there to witness what might be history.  Watch for updates……

Be there or be square.  Aloha!

St. Benedict the Moor’s 5th and 8th graders strut their stuff for their schoolmates and families

It was an exciting day in the Hill District    Today was the culminating event for St. Benedict the Moor’s 5th and 8th grade Dancing Classrooms participants.  St. Benedict began Dancing Classrooms in the winter of 2010.  They along with three other schools that were part of the Extra Mile Foundation-St. Agnes, who merged with St  Benedict for the start of the 2011-2012 school year; Holy Rosary School in Homewood and St. James School in Wilkinsburg-the latter two merged to become Sister Thea Bowman Academy in the fall of 2011-12, as well.

This year was also special because the 8th graders had had the program in the 5th grade. When teaching artist, Ms. Rozana Sweeney asked the audience, “How many of you have had Dancing Classrooms wither this year or previously,” almost half of the students in the auditorium raised their hands!  For us at Dancing Classrooms Pittsburgh, it was an exciting moment.  Almost as exciting as watching the students themselves!  Speaking of which, lets take a look at some pictures of the three classrooms in action!

8th graders showing their best corte!
8th graders showing the swing!
Everybody dance!!!!!!!
8th graders showing their best Merengue!
now 5th graders show the Merengue!
5th grade foxtrot.
You know it’s the rumba (can you hear me rolling my “r” when I say that??) when the ladies are showing their bling!

Winning isn’t everything…..

Recognition by Catholic Health Association of the United States
Recognition by Catholic Health Association of the United States

As we approach our upcoming Semi-finals and Colors of the Rainbow Team Finals, we received this in the mail today…Just being nominated was an honor unto itself.  The letter we received  from the CEO of the Catholic Health Association of the United States, Sr. Carol Keehan, DC,  said, “To be nominated for this prestigious award is truly an honor.  Congratulations to everyone at your organization and thank you for the service to God’s people through the church’s health ministry.”

A special thanks to our team-Rozana and Terry Sweeney, Ashley Douglas, Jennifer Milligan, and Gena Melago.  They have truly taken the lead and have helped to transform these young ladies and gentlemen’s lives, one step at a time!