Shall We (Ballroom) Dance?!
P.E. Shoes or Dancing Shoes?
Ballroom dancing For the past two weeks, Forsyth School fourth, fifth, and sixth graders studied ballroom dance with professional dancer Lucy Fitzgerald from Fitzgerald Dancing. They covered foxtrot, swing, rumba and tango in P.E. class. There was a parent performance at the end for fifth and sixth graders, followed by a dance competition for sixth graders only.
How does ballroom dance relate to physical education? Ballroom dance utilizes core strength for posture. It requires discipline, respect, and teamwork–albeit for teams of two. Dancers have to be in the moment and fully engaged with their partner. The social dynamics are essential. Good manners or etiquette is as important as learning the dance steps. The social protocols of professional ballroom dance would disqualify a team, for example, if the partner was not escorted to the dance floor. Smiling is also a key factor for success.
Our coaches picked ballroom dance because it also provides an opportunity for every child to shine. Some kids who succeed on the soccer field or basketball court, might find the dance floor is a challenge. And visa versa.
Dancing with the Stars Competition is fierce at Forsyth School, even in ballroom dancing. After taking lessons for three consecutive years, the sixth graders got a chance to show off their moves and go for the gold. Coaches drew names out of hat earlier in the week to select pairs. The partners chose the dance or dances in which they wanted to compete. For a leg up on the competition, some teams even coordinated their outfits, which did not go unnoticed by the judges.
Coach Harris, Coach Stone and Michael Fitzgerald...instructor Lucy's partner in life and dance...served as judges this year. During the final round, they look for eye contact, strong arms, quick steps, smiles and numerous other factors to narrow the field to three couples per type of dance. The finalists then completed the dance three times and anxiously waited to hear the judge's comments just like on Dancing with the Stars.
This year, the playing field was pretty equal but winners were named for each dance, including a tie for the swing. Most couples congratulated each other with a high five!