Fifth graders at East School in Long Beach put on their dancing shoes for a culminating Spring Fling showcase of their 10-week-long Dancing Classrooms of Long Island program on June 21. The playground area’s pavement became a stage for the students, who are now experienced in various forms of ballroom dance.
Following welcoming remarks by Principal Kathleen Connolly, DCLI Educational Liaison Eileen Clarke and Teaching Artist Kristin Altfather described the program and commended the students for acquiring dance skills during a difficult year. They introduced each class and announced the performance pieces.
Mrs. Breen’s Team presented the Merengue and Rumba, Mrs. Bauer’s Team demonstrated the Foxtrot and Cowboy Hustle and Mr. MacConnell’s Team featured the Tango and Swing. The three groups then gathered for a finale, and family members in the audience were invited to step up and join the students for a special dance.
While many districts and schools participated in virtual opportunities offered by DCLI this year, East is the only school on Long Island that implemented its in-person Safe Residency program, which involved professional dance instructors and practice sessions that kept participants spaced apart. East is also proud to be the only school that has never missed a year of dancing since the program began in 2008, even when faced with challenging circumstances including the pandemic and Superstorm Sandy. As a result of this dedication, DCLI featured East in its May gala video, and East has received special awards from the program in the past.
“We are very fortunate to have the support of district administration and Eileen Clarke to run this fabulous program at East,” Ms. Connolly said. “Our students benefit from Dancing Classrooms in so many social ways, it’s a beautiful event every year. We are proud of our students and their achievements.”