May 30, 2024 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

Fifth-Grade and Foot-Loose:

The Ballroom Madness Match Championship Title was awarded to the Webster Elementary School after the children of three exceptional 5th grade elementary schools did the Swing, Tangoed, and Fox Trotted their way through a fun and heartfelt competition.

The children of John Muir Elementary School, Will Rogers Learning Community and Webster Elementary School prepared twice a week for the past ten weeks, learning the different afore-mentioned styles, the Rumba, and much more.

The Will Rogers Community Center children settled for second prize and John Muir Elementary School won third prize, though Daniel Ponickly, Ballroom Madness artistic director, emphasized that all teams are winners for their enthusiasm and hard work every day in class.

“Today it was a huge success having the schools come together and the spirit was extraordinary,” said Ballroom Madness executive director Jane Dorian.

Dorian and Ponickly co-founded Ballroom Madness as a non-profit organization with the mission to implement a dynamic dance program that develops creative potential, and sets a foundation of respect, confidence, teamwork, and a sense of accomplishment for each student.

Ballroom Madness provides an incredible dance program for private schools, public schools, and community centers. “The non-profit organization gives the kids common ground and when before they don’t even know one another, all of a sudden here they have something in common, which is dance,” Dorian said. “Instead of being in a schoolyard fight, they can practice their Tango, Rumba, or their Salsa. In this sense it gives the kids a common language as well.”

During the show Ponickly took a moment to applaud Dorian’s enthusiasm with Ballroom Madness and its young dancers. “It’s because of her commitment to arts, for her wanting to lead this organization, we are here” said Ponickly.

Santa Monica City Councilmember Kevin McKeown also took part in the spirit, along with the children, as he presented a commendation certificate to the organizers of the schools and principals for all their hard work and dedication in improving the lives of our local youth. ‘It’s my privilege today to represent the City of Santa Monica here,” said McKeown. “We are particularly proud of our arts programs and I am thrilled to see that expand into dance.”

Dorian encourages and invites all children interested in dance to contact her or the organization. Ballroom Madness’ mission is to offer children an opportunity to express their creativity in a setting that fosters respect, teamwork and accomplishment— One Step at a Time.

Marissa Bojiuc is an Intern

at the Santa Monica Mirror

Contact her at

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