Mad Hot DanceSport
A volunteer organization
Palo Alto, California
Mad Hot DanceSport: bringing ballroom dance to Bay Area schools
Classes are currently offered twice a week at the East Palo Alto Charter School (EPACS) as part of the after-school enrichment hour. Students are encouraged to sign up at the beginning of the school year and maintain their involvement for the duration of the academic year to encourage commitment and focus.

Both American and International Style curricula are introduced in order to challenge the students, introduce them to a variety of dances, musical styles and technical points, as well as maintain (the often fleeting) interest of elementary schoolers.

A typical class consists of reviewing previously learned steps alone, and then with a partner; having new material demonstrated and explained by the instructors; and practice to music. Over time the students have devised their own favorite practice techniques: “Show and Tell” allows each couple to showcase their skills while the rest of the class counts out loud, and “no-Bumper Cars” is a way of practicing foxtrot in a small classroom with the goal of not bumping into others.

In addition to teaching dance-related skills such as musicality, posture, and footwork, the instructors seek opportunities to foster skills that apply outside of the dancing context. Working with a partner, being committed to a performance group, resolving disagreements in a friendly manner and persevering despite difficulty, are just a few of the lessons that the students learn while dancing.