June 20, 2024 #1 Local News, Information and Event Source for the Century City/Westwood areas.

Ballroom Madness: A 5th Grade Celebration

Talented 5th graders celebrate the culmination of their ten-week Ballroom MADNESS school dance program as they represent their schools in the Ballroom MADNESS Elementary School Team Match. The young dancers, six teams of students from Franklin, John Muir, Pt. Dume, Roosevelt, Webster and Will Rogers Elementary Schools in the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District, will be dancing like the stars they are—shining with newfound self-esteem, sharing the joy that only swing and meringue can bring. The event, 10 – 11 a.m., Wednesday, January 12, will be held at Barnum Hall, Santa Monica High School, 601 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica. The public is encouraged to attend and admission is free of charge.

Judges for the team match include Richard Riordan, who served as California Secretary of Education and Mayor of Los Angeles; L.A. philanthropist and supporter of the arts, Glorya Kaufman; veteran actor of film, TV and Broadway theatre, Joshua Bitton, soon to be seen in the film “For the Love of Money,†and popular actor of stage, TV and film Anil Kumar, whose credits include the new 2011 NBC series “The Cape.â€

“I know how dance positively enriched my life and I wanted to offer children an opportunity to express their creativity in a setting that fosters respect, teamwork and accomplishment, ‘one step at a time’, said Jane Dorian, the group’s executive director and co-founder.†I was compelled to create Ballroom MADNESS when I observed a family at lunch—each member was plugged into some electronic device. I thought ‘why don’t they connect to each other?’.â€

Dorian and co-founder Daniel Ponickly, created the arts education program two years ago from their shared passion for dance. Dorian, a founding member of Center Dance Arts at the L.A.’s Music Center, danced in the national company of “Hello Dolly†and numerous films and television shows. Ponickly taught dance in New York’s inner city public schools and was a Senior Teaching Artist with American Ballroom Theater’s “Dancing Classrooms Program,†the group profiled in the documentary, “Mad Hot Ballroom.â€
“Our program is great for all students,†said Ponickly, “but it is especially gratifying when we can serve urban kids—teaching them social and partnership skills, while providing them with a positive alternative to gangs and street-life.â€

Ballroom MADNESS is a nonprofit organization that brings ballroom dance to under-served school children. A truly transformative experience, Ballroom MADNESS fosters respect and teamwork in classmates by teaching them to work together to build a solid foundation of trust and partnership. The program provides students with a creative and expressive artistic outlet within an environment that is safe and constructive, during school hours. Since its inception in 2007, more than 800 children in 13 Southern California schools have been inspired to be the best at something— they have learned they are important and that their actions matter.

For more information visit www.BallroomMadness.org or contact Jane Dorian at jane@janedorian.com.
xxx

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