Chicago students learn respect through dance

March 25, 2010 3:23:48 PM PDT
Hundreds of Chicago middle school students who are members of their schools' dance clubs strutted their stuff Thursday.

The Joffrey Ballet's community engagement program presented "Sounds of the Sixties: A decade of Change" with the middle school dance clubs' spring concert at Thorp Scholastic Academy on the Northwest Side.

Four hundred students representing 23 Chicago Public Schools practiced twice a week and created these dances for the rock and roll concert.

"I really like it. You get to meet different students. It is fun to wear the makeup and dress up," said Regina Favela, Orosco Academy student.

"It is real fun you get to do so much and learn a lot of respect and be a really good student," said Jamal Sherman, Daniel Boone student.

Pierre Lockett, director of community engagement for the Joffrey Ballet, says the middle school dance club provides CPS students an opportunity to experience dance and its many facets and to develop skills that will assist them in life.

"It is a dance program that uses fine arts to develop skills like responsibility and respect," said Lockett.

"It is teaching me how to show respect and how to have fun. Since I have been in the program my grades have been coming up," said Kenneka Jenkins, Johnson School of Essence student.

"It is great how we work together and respect each other and treat each other," said Wayne Strange, Nathan Goldblatt School student.

The students created dances to fit the theme of the sounds of the sixties. They incorporated popular dance steps such as the jerk, twist, swim, mashed potato and monkey with their own style and flare.

Students, teachers and performers all enjoyed the program.