In our Ballroom program, students in Kinder and First grade learn how to mirror their partner and make eye contact, promoting empathy, as well as appropriate physical contact while dancing. They learn about boundaries and understanding how another peer feels.
We ask our five to seven year olds to describe why eye contact and smiling is important while dancing. Students respond that it makes their partner feel happy that they are doing the right step and that if they frown, their partner feels sad or thinks maybe they aren’t accepted or cool.
Fourth graders have a deeper understanding of male and female dynamics, so we initially ask them to describe how they feel about dancing with the opposite gender. After some hesitation, they admit they feel nervous, awkward and uncomfortable. They pull their sweaters over their hands to avoid contact.
After twenty-four weeks of instruction, students admit dancing boosted their confidence, and the Fourth graders add that "after all, we’re only ten years old.”