When the music is turned up at Chimbarazo Elementary School, that means it is time for students to "get down".
However, they do not "get down" just any ol' way, thanks to the teachings of Pierre Dulaine, a seasoned dance professional.
"It gives the children a chance to enjoy themselves, to shake what their mama gave them," said Dulaine.
Dulaine has been giving students a chance to "shake what their mama gave them" for about 19 years, through an international program he began called "Dancing Classrooms". Twice a week for ten weeks, students come together to learn the fox trot, the waltz, and everything in between. However, this program is more than just about learning smooth moves.
"They learn to be respectful to each other, to be polite to each other, to be elegant, to actually treat people nicely, to have teamwork," said Dulaine.
For many of these students, this is their first ballroom dance lesson, and being fifth graders, it is a "big deal' to stand closely to their classmates.
So, there are lots of giggles along with the dancing.
Jazmine Richardson really enjoys the class.
"I can move my body every time I dance, and I won't just be sitting in the chair all day reading a book or writing," said Richardson.
Her classmate, Marquez Taylor, looks forward to the class because he says he is stepping out of his comfort zone.
He says hitting the dance floor is not only helping him. He sees it making a difference in the classroom.
"I think this will be a good way for the class to respect each other more and not feel so "gossipy" about another one's body," said Taylor.
The "Dancing Classrooms" program is just getting started at Chimbarazo. However, there is already a pilot program at Swansboro elementary, and the program will expand to other Richmond elementary schools in January.
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