A Ballroom Comeback

Ballroom dance has recently made an unprecedented comeback.  Six years ago we began offering a dance program along with leadership and etiquette to children ages 7-18 years old in collaboration with many fine organizations with a budding non profit, the Witherspoon Institute (WIN).  Our partners include the Boys and Girls Club, YMCA’s and other social organizations like the sorority Alpha Kappa Alfa.

Adults have been after me to do a grown-up program to mirror the youth. Next February 2013 we will launch the grand opening of the adult program on the Royal Caribbean Cruise Line during WIN’s Raise Your Hand for Haiti 8 Night Cruise event.  Please join us Feb 16-23-13.  We’ll have a ball cruising to St. Maarten, St. Kitts, Purto Rico and Haiti.  The event continues to raise our 7 year awareness campaign and with your help scholarship/grant funding.  Visit www.witherspooninstitute.net for more details.  300,000 orphans survived the Haitian Earthquake and still need our help!

The culture of ballroom dance fascinates me.  It covers so many styles, genres, ethnic and social backgrounds.  The waltz is European noted as early as 1580 in Germany. The Tango is Spanish with Argentine origins begun in South America circa 1912.  The Charleston comes from African American roots hailing from Charleston, South Carolina in the 1920’s.  The the Foxtrot (1914 )and the Lindy Hop in the 1920’s are both African American dances.   The Rumba (1930) comes from an Afro Cuban mixture while the Cha Cha is purely Cuban born in 1950.

With the popularity of the many televised dancing shows, ballroom dancing schools seem to be popping up all over the country. It feels great to be in that flow although we are not purely a dance school.  It’s great to see celebrity dance couples particularly President and Michelle Obama.  Leading the country with grace, glamor and ballroom dance is always timely even when the economy may be out of sorts.  There is always room for the uplift of social etiquette.  A graceful dance, a perfect handshake or a cup of tea in a beautiful (can be inexpensive) tea cup simply makes you smile.  Mrs. Obama took her dance movement even further with the creation of “Let’s Move” initiative, “America’s move to raise a healthier generation of kids.  Visit www.letsmove.gov for more details.

Dancers as well as non-dancers are trying their hand or feet, at the many popular social dances. They are easy to pick up.  I didn’t know anything about ballroom dance when I began the Witherspoon Institute.  I hired professional teachers to teach that portion of our coursework leaving the etiquette and leadership portion for to me to develop.  I have a stong background in program development through the arts.

Since then, I’ve becomea noted etiquette expert and have an entire course work on the subject of etiquette and leadership for youth.  This season I will begin teaching ballroom along with a male partner.  This is opening an exciting chapter in my life.  With such an evolution we are delighted to invite you to learn the art of ballroom dance with us in whatever city you live in.  We look forward to our journey together as we develop the three-tier course of leadership, etiquette and ballroom dance for adults.  Over the course of this blog we will talk about our journey from the perspective of teaching, learning and performance.

So, Grab a partner and join the conversation. You will feel great, look great and open up a whole new world and create an exciting new social circle.  We look forward to seeing you with us on the dance floor!  Your’s truly, Cha, cha, cha…  Ms. Witherspoon

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