Fifth grade students from Bonita Springs Elementary School, Franklin Park Magnet School and Edgewood Academy will be demonstrating their ballroom dancing skills near the Restaurant Piazza at Miromar Outlets on Saturday, March 29, 2008, beginning at 1 p.m. The public is invited and there is no charge.
The students have been taking part in a 10-week, 20-lesson program called “Dancing Classrooms.” It is a social development program for fifth grade children, utilizing ballroom dancing as a vehicle to build social awareness, confidence and self-esteem through the practice of ballroom dancing. The students in the Exhibition program have completed their 20 lessons and are among a total of 325 Lee County fifth graders that have taken part in “Dancing Classrooms.”
The “Dancing Classrooms” program is underwritten by Miromar Outlets and presented in partnership with The Foundation for Lee Public Schools. The inspiration for the program is based on an award-winning documentary called "Mad Hot Ballroom." This movie captures the journey taken by a group of fifth graders from lower socio-economic neighborhoods in New York City as they develop social skills through learning ballroom dancing. Another movie, Take the Lead, depicts the efforts of Dancing Classrooms founder and director, Pierre Dulaine, to utilize ballroom dancing to help NYC youth regain a sense of self-respect, pride and elegance. Antonio Bandaras portrays Dulaine in the movie, which was released in 2006.
The program has been so successful in New York that Dulaine, has made it available to school districts across the United States. Currently, schools in major metropolitan cities such as New York City, Boston, Atlanta, Denver, and Fort Worth/Dallas are participating. This is the first Dancing Classrooms program in the state of Florida and the first time a private business has provided the program for local public schools.
The two other Lee County schools that participated in Dancing Classrooms are Tice and J. Colin English Elementary Schools in Fort Myers. They exhibited their dancing skills at Miromar Outlets on March 15. The two weekend dance exhibitions will be followed by a final ballroom dancing competition on April 5 at the International Design Center called “Colors of the Rainbow Team Match.” Pierre Dulaine will be in attendance.
Miromar Outlets, voted Southwest Florida’s “Best Factory Outlet Shopping Center” for nine years in a row, features over 140 great designer and brand name manufacturers’ outlet stores including Juicy Couture, Ann Taylor Factory Store, Brooks Brothers Factory Store, Coach Factory, Cole Haan Factory Store, Movado Company Store, Eddie Bauer Outlet, GUESS Factory Store, Ellen Tracy, Kenneth Cole Outlet Store, QVC Outlet, Polo Ralph Lauren Factory Store, Lenox Factory Outlet, Michael Kors, Nike Factory Store, OshKosh B’Gosh, Escada Company Store, Perry Ellis, Saks Fifth Avenue Off 5th, The Worth Collection, St. John Company Store, Tommy Hilfiger, Neiman Marcus Last Call (opening May 2008) and many more.
Miromar Outlets is located at exit 123 off I-75, on Miromar Outlets Boulevard in Estero, between Naples and Fort Myers,. Store hours are Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. www.MiromarOutlets.com.