SPRINGFIELD, Mass (WGGB)- When you think of an elementary school dance you probably imagine girls on one side of the room and boys on another. For fifth graders today, that was not the case.
Seven local elementary schools participate in the “Over the Top Ballroom Dancing Project.” This year students began rehearsing in October and today was the big dance-off for Kensington Ave Elementary School fifth graders.
Besides learning to dance, there were a few obstacles to overcome. One for example, holding their partners hand. “It was gross at first, but then after a while you don’t really remember holding their hands,” says fifth grader Jessenia Alvarez.
Just as important, picking the perfect outfit… “On New Years I wore this dress and once they told us about the dance-off I knew it was the perfect thing to wear,” adds Alvarez.
Many of the students explained that learning how to ballroom dance took a lot of hard work and dedication. “You need to be very sharp on your moves,” says classmate Noel Alicea.
It was obvious the hard work paid off. Teachers, other students, and proud parents watched and snapped pictures throughout the performance. At the end, 8 boys and 8 girls were selected to move onto the finals.
Whether selected or not, they have all taken a step in the right direction. “The kids are not only learning to dance, they are learning to be risk-takers… and that transforms into the classroom,” says director of the program Allyson Gouzounis.
Staff from Springfield School Volunteers, as well as several volunteers from the community made up the panel of judges today. The team chosen will Cha-cha, Merengue, and Tango their way on to the Symphony Hall Stage this Spring.