By Kristi Maxwell
Sixth graders throughout Emery County gathered at Emery High on Jan. 16 to take part in an annual dance festival. Students from Bookcliff, Cleveland, Huntington, Orangeville and Ferron elementary schools gathered to present dances they learned from teachers as part of the Mad Hot Ballroom program for the 8th annual dance festival.
“It is fun for the kids to come over and interact with the other classes in the county,” said John Hughes, teacher at Bookcliff Elementary.
The Mad Hot Ballroom program came about after the shooting at Columbine High School in April of 2009. According to Cottonwood Elementary Art Director Leigh Stilson, the program is used as a way to instill compassion in students. It is designed to teach them to be responsible for their partner as well as the whole classroom.
“It’s good for them to learn how to dance and teach them real dancing skills,” stated Mindy Nicholson, a parent of a student at Cottonwood Elementary. Cottonwood focused on traditional ballroom dancing at the event.
Students learn to dance from teachers at each school. DVDs from the Mad Hot Ballroom program are used by the teachers to instruct the students on dancing techniques and how to interact with their partners.
“They have a lot of fun,” explained Tricia Zwahlen, teacher from Huntington Elementary. “All the kids have put in a lot of work.”