Fifth-grade students from each of the 11 Santa Monica-Malibu elementary schools danced their hearts out, with their peers, parents, teachers and principals cheering, at the first-ever Ballroom Madness Competition on Friday, Dec. 19.
After 10 weeks of lessons learning the merengue, waltz, swing, fox trot, salsa and tango, the top five boys and five girls from each school competed against each other at the nearly packed Barnum Hall at Santa Monica High School.
“This program exemplifies our commitment to a comprehensive visual and performing arts program for all of our students, as provided by our Vision for Student Success goals,” said Superintendent Sandra Lyon. “Watching our fifth-graders learn and perform such intricate and beautiful dances is a wonderful experience, not only for them, but for our community. We are so proud of all of our students for their dedication this semester.”
The event was funded by the Santa Monica-Malibu Education Foundation and a $21,400 grant from the Los Angeles County Arts for All program. Dancers were judged on a point system, with the top teams awarded first-, second- and third-place trophies. First place went Franklin Elementary School, second place went to Edison Language Academy, and third place was awarded to McKinley Elementary School.
While this is the first year the program is active District-wide, Ballroom Madness, under the leadership of Executive Director Danny Ponickly, has worked with Santa Monica-Malibu fifth-graders for five years.
Ballroom Madness is a nonprofit organization founded to provide a dynamic dance program to develop creative potential while setting a foundation of respect, teamwork, confidence and a sense of accomplishment in fifth- and sixth-graders.