“My family is so happy for me!”  Said one MTS Elementary fifth grader in a bright orange dress who showcased a number of the complicated dance steps at the MTS Elementary dance performance.

Since February, these fifth graders have been working twice a week with Heart of the Dance, an organization that works with youth to teach them dance—and also teaches them important things like teamwork, respect and elegance at the same time, and some kindness and civility, too.  And this world needs a lot more kindness and civility.

What you may notice straight off from the pictures or video is how in-step these students are, and how serious, focused, poised and ready they are.  All these dances:  Merengue, the Fox Trot, Tango, Polka and more, have very different steps, moods, patterns and these fifth graders had them all down and performed them in front of a large crowd.  That’s mathematics, focus, history, creativity all together (no one needs to tell these learners that the dance ties into their school’s curriculum learning goals!).

More than anything—it’s fun.

Looking at this urban group of students on the cusp of adolescence with who knows what kinds of challenges in their lives—your first thought may not be “how about a little ballroom dancing to make learning and delight happen?”  But that’s just what happened.

The MTS Elementary gym was filled with parents, siblings, grandparents, and fellow students.  Cheers broke out often and proud grins filled the room.  These kids were good!

One of the more fun moments of the performance was at the end.  The instructor asked everyone to stand up where they were or to come out on the floor.  The Macarena blasted from the speakers and staff, students, families all strutted their stuff around the MTS Elementary gym in an expression of sheer joy and fun.

“I’m going to do that when I’m in fifth grade,” said a small and eager first grader.

This is just one of the ways MTS Elementary infuses art, expression, and experiences into its school days so its students not only learn important basic knowledge—but develop a passion for learning, even, a true enthusiasm for what can be.

At MTS Elementary, we believe learning can (and should) be exciting.