Dancing is the art of life  

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Testimonials - What Educators, Parents and students are saying!

Students Journal Entries 2011-12

When I first heard we were going to be ballroom dancing I wasn’t so excited. Now that I‘ve tried it I realize that it is so different than I thought it would be. I love to shake what my mama gave me! I have a lot of fun.
Dance has changed how I respect people. It made me mature and respect others by not judging them by how they look. When I dance I feel like a gentleman. I would recommend this program to everyone.

Tommy
Grade 7 Student
                          

Today we talked about respect. Respect is something you give to a person. If you do not respect people, they will not like you and respect you. I think respect means taking your dance partner for who she is, not how she looks. I feel more confident when I dance and when I talk to my dance partners, and other people too. Dancing makes me feel more social and I feel proud!

Jonathan
Grade 6 Student
                          

Dance has taught me to respect females more.  I feel energetic when I dance.  I enjoy “shaking my buttons”.  I also feel respected when I am on the dance floor.

Jamal
Grade 7

Dance has given me confidence. When I dance I feel like I’m in another world - I feel free!  This program should be in all schools. I highly recommend it!

Victoria
Grade 7

When I first heard about the ballroom dance program I was very excited.  Each week the program felt more and more fun.  We learned various dances such as, meringue, fox-trot, rumba, tango, waltz, swing, and even the electric slide!  This program made me mature and treat people differently.  I also know more about my classmates. I have learned to trust and respect them.  I have been treated more like a lady than a girl, and as I get older, that’s how I want to be treated!
This program is more than just about dance; it is about becoming more respectful and trustworthy of each other!

Livia
Grade 7

 

As the mother of a child who has taken part in the Join the Dance program, I can’t tell you how proud and overwhelmed I was, the first time I saw my son dance.
It has been an amazing experience for our son and our entire family. Tommy, 12, has been an avid hockey player since he was 4 years old. At one point, he had to make a decision between a “play-off” hockey game and a dance competition. In the end, by his own choice and our support, he chose the dancing competition as, “dancing made him feel good”.
This experience has taught him to be more respectful, especially of the young women that he dances with. It is something that we really would not have thought of as an activity for Tommy, as he was more into sports, but with this experience, he has found something which he enjoys very much and is hopeful that he can take it further.
These children also have the utmost respect for their instructor, who has done an amazing job. These instructors are professional and also have wonderful patience with the children. It shows when they dance! They smile from ear to ear, from beginning to end. It touches my heart when I watch them dance, as I know they are having fun. This is what is important for children!
Denise Grande

Watching my students transform from boys and girls to young ladies and gentlemen has been one of the most memorable and rewarding experiences of my teaching career.   Never did I imagine that that over the course of 10 weeks these young students would demonstrate such passion and commitment to Ballroom Dance. 
The camaraderie among them blossomed, as did their respect for one another.  It was never about who was a better dancer, but rather, how great they all were as a team.   For some, the change was about becoming more confident and self- assured, while for others it was simply about making friends.  Nonetheless, each young life was transformed. 
Join the Dance has provided each child with a unique experience.  It certainly met goals beyond those which they set out to achieve – co-operation, respect, self-confidence, and teamwork.    It also provided them with a sense of belonging.  Belonging to a community, or as they preferred to call themselves - “a family”,   in which they could all stand together and be proud.
I leave you with a quote from the dance journal of one of my gentlemen, “Ballroom dance has changed my life forever!” 
Thank you Join the Dance for making a difference in the lives of our students!

 

SILHOUETTE

THE ROOM SITS EMPTY – NOBODY THERE.
THE CHAIRS SIT TALL, AS THEY AWAIT THEIR GUESTS.
THEN- THE ROOM SLOWLY FILLS- LIKE CHURCH ON SUNDAY.
BELOW THEIR FEET THE FLOOR LAYS IMPATIENTLY.
WHEN WILL THE MUSIC START?
ONE BY ONE THEY TAKE THEIR PLACE.
THEIR EYES LOCK – IN DEEP CONCENTRATION.
ARMS AND HANDS UNITE, AS FEET SLIDE TOGETHER.
BODIES STAND ELEGANTLY, LIKE A SILHOUETTE.
THE MOMENT HAS COME.
LET THE DANCE BEGIN!

 

By: Mrs. Samuels’ Grade 6 Students
Our Lady of Victory Catholic School
2011

 

Jenny Samuels
Grade 6 Teacher
Our Lady of Victory Catholic School

 

A Principal’s Appreciation: Outcome Grand Trophy Finals Monday, 20th June, 2011
Thank you so much for the opportunity you have helped us provide to Valleyfield children through the dance program. Today and tonight was an experience I believe our young students will remember for years and years to come. It reminds me of a saying I keep close in mind as an educator..."Children don't care what you know until they know that you care."
Tonight I was privileged to have 16 out of 21 staff members who chose to give their personal evening time to be at the Palais to support our children and the program.....Many of the benefits they support are core values and goals your organization has set out to instill in young children. I wanted to share with you the note of gratitude and recognition I have sent to Valleyfield staff tonight so that you may also be part of our celebration for and with our children. Thank you for all of your efforts in making this possible. (Classroom Teachers) thank you for the time you have put into this with and for all of your kids. Take a minute to fully take stock of what you have given the members of this year's team through your efforts. As I watched them over the last couple of weeks, what struck me most was the mix of children on the team...the "unlikely heroes". Some so capable yet quiet or reserved they had never stepped out to grab the limelight...some with whom we have worked hard over the past years to turn their negative leadership onto a positive track and others who have not been able to rise to the top in any area to enjoy the limelight. Thank you for that!

Ecole Winchester launched the Dancing Classrooms program with a Grade 5/6 class in the fall of 2007.  It was so successful that we have now introduced the program to seven other schools in our inner city cluster. I have personally witnessed the transformation of our Grade 5/6 class, which has blossomed into one of the model classes in the school.  Dancing Classrooms is one of those opportunities that create a supportive and positive environment to nurture respect and civility amongst the students, while meeting the Ontario curriculum expectations across all areas. It is also excellent professional development for the classroom teacher to work alongside professional dance artists. Parents are equally enthusiastic about the program. It brings meaningful connections between home and school when the students practise the dance steps at home with their parents, or when we host ballroom dancing family night. 
(Karen Albertson – Vice Principal at Ecole Winchester Public School)

I can't believe how many dances we've learned in such a short time.  More importantly, the program has helped with the students' self-confidence.  While it took a couple of classes, dancing with a partner is no longer an issue.  In fact, they are starting to realize who they partner well with.  The students look forward to the class, and many say they won't be absent on Tuesdays or Thursdays because they love dancing so much.  I have been so impressed with how seriously they take the program.  It has given students who might not necessarily excel academically, a chance to shine.  I have thoroughly enjoyed the last six weeks, and look forward to the showcase.  
(Claudine Camp - Grade 5 Teacher, St. Paul Catholic Elementary)


At Seneca Hill we believe that all of the arts- dance, drama, music and visual arts are essential to a complete education for all students.  Our partnership with the Dancing Classroom programme has promoted the essential role of arts education in enabling the students at Seneca Hill to be successful in school, life and eventually work. Our joint venture has taken on many forms and we look forward to this continued partnership where teachers, students, administration and community will be able to practice and develop learning opportunities to meet the needs of each individual student. Our goal is to continue to encourage this partnership so that we can make a broader impact, which would allow us to reach a greater range of students.  We believe quite strongly that integrating arts in collaborative partnerships between the teacher and artists have cognitive, affective, and social benefits for our students. At Seneca Hill we believe that children will succeed throughout their lives if they acquire the essential skills for the future.  Dancing Classrooms has allowed our students to have opportunities to develop these essential skills and provided our students with a unique opportunity for social interaction and teamwork.  It has been a fantastic learning opportunity for both our students and teachers.
(Morag Kilackey – Principal,  Seneca Hill Jr. Public)

The grade 5 and 6 students at Pope Paul VI Catholic School have been touched and inspired by the Dancing Classrooms program.  Our students not only learned to dance the Merengue, Waltz, Fox Trot and Swing, they achieved social awareness and built confidence and self-esteem. Over the 10 weeks of instruction with our dedicated instructor, Jessica, these young children were transformed into mature and respectful ladies and gentlemen. Dancing Classrooms has given our students a sense of accomplishment. It has been an experience that will continue to have positive effects on our students as they move forward in their school lives. Our staff, students and families are also very grateful to have had the opportunity to participate in the Colors of the Rainbow Team Match at the Palais Royale.  It was a surreal experience for everyone involved!!
(Patricia Greco - Vice Principal at Pope Paul VI Catholic School)

Thanks for introducing ballroom dancing to our students.  This was a wonderful experience for them.  Not only did the students learn various types of dance from different cultures, but for many of them, this was an opportunity that enhanced their social skills, team-work skills, physical coordination, and self-esteem.  Furthermore, they had a lot of fun and looked forward to every session.  I thought the journal writing was also an excellent idea as it gave the students a chance to reflect on what they learned as well as their own personal progress.  I do believe that the Arts is one area of the curriculum is one that should be further implemented in such a program as it gives some students a chance to find their true strengths and talents, and furthermore allows students to feel a sense of accomplishment.
( Victoria Fuentes Rivera - Grade 5 Teacher, Glen Ravine Junior Public School)
 

The Dance class experience is one I will cherish always as it was a wonderful opportunity for myself and the children. It has impacted the children in many different ways. For starters, it has brought them closer together as it has taught them to respect one another. The learning of the dances in pairs, helped them work cooperatively together, especially since every week one boy may have had to dance with a new girl. They learned to get along well with one another which was an incredible feat as grade five boys don't usually get along well with the girls and visa versa.  I have also seen it impact the more timid students. They have opened up and learned to feel more confident about themselves. My shyest students have volunteered to dance for their classmates, read their journals in front of a camera and been interviewed about their opinions on the experience by an adult they've never met before. It may not seem like much, but if you knew these children, you'd be amazed by this. They were so shy that if you were the only person in a room with them, and you asked them a question, their response would be so hard to hear you'd have to sit right next to them. They never spoke in front of their classmates, and now, here they are, dancing and expressing their ideas to everyone including perfect strangers! It is truly AMAZING!
(Ms. Jennifer DeFreitas - Grade 5 Teacher, St. Edmund Campion )

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