Dancing with the students

May 29, 2009 3:46:10 PM PDT
ABC's "Dancing with the Stars" has already chosen a champion but Philadelphia's competition isn't over yet. It was the semi-finals for "Dancing with the Students" on Wednesday.Fifth graders from all over the city showed their stuff while our cameras rolled during the afternoon competition at the Catherine School.

About 200 students from 16 public, charter and archdiocese schools participated in the competition. The afternoon began with the meringue.

"It's a Latin dance, comes from the Dominican Republic, was discovered long ago during 1800's," explained Charles Dubar of the Catherine School.

These young students research each dance, learning its origins then they learn the steps. Next up was the foxtrot, then the rumba, the tango and the swing.

"Dancing Classrooms Philly" is modeled after a program created by a pair of world-renowned ballroom dancers in New York City.

It was launched in Philadelphia 2 years ago. Some of the kids said they were nervous at first.

The teachers and parents love it because it teaches the students life-lessons as well as ballroom dance.

"It teaches them respect, civility, cooperation, politeness, appropriate touch I could go on and on."

And the kids love it because:

"It's easy and its fun and it can help you calm down," said Charles Thomas of Spring Garden Elementary.

Half of the schools that competed Wednesday, 8 in all, will advance to the finals. And those students will face off in the "Colors of the Rainbow Team Match". Final competition will be held next Saturday afternoon, at Temple's McGonigal Hall.

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