Over the last 5 years, over 30 public and parochial schools in St. Louis City and County, and from St. Charles all the way to Hillsboro and DeSoto have invited SLDC in to classrooms to conduct our 10-week residency program.
During two, 45-50 minute sessions per week, students learn the Merengue, Foxtrot, Rumba, Tango, Swing, and Waltz, along with several other “sugar” dances that encourage self-expression, including the Heel-Toe Polka, and a line dance called the Stomp. An SLDC teaching artist works with the classroom teacher throughout the residency to make cross-curricular connections between the dance floor and the classroom. For example, in one school, students were learning about poetry in their language arts class.
The final session of the residency is the “Culminating Event.” This is a public performance for the entire school, parents, and community that gives our fifth grade ladies and gentlemen an opportunity to shine with their elegance, teamwork, and, of course, their dancing skills!
Each school is also invited to compete to earn a spot in the Colors of the Rainbow Ballroom Dance Championship. Independent judges select six schools during two semi-final competition rounds to compete in the Championship. Additionally, students from all over the St. Louis Metropolitan area dance the steps they’ve learned throughout the residency with students from other schools during the social dance portion of the event. Each competition is open to the public to watch and enjoy, and we get out onto the dance floor as well using our “sugar” dances.