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2019 Dancing Classrooms “Mad Hot Ball” Gala – Celebrating 25 Years of Making the World a Better Place



The “Mad Hot Ball” Gala 2019 will be a special year. It’s the 25th. Anniversary and will be held at The Pierre Hotel in New York City on April 10th…another unforgettable heart-warming event.

The Start of the Dancing Classrooms Benefit Gala

Pierre Dulaine, along with the team behind Dancing Classrooms, have been holding galas and bringing together people from all over the world. Those who believe in his vision come to celebrate and raise funds to ensure that all the children can participate in their Dancing Classrooms program.

In the past years, Dr. David Osher, Vice President of American Institutes for Research, held a speech at The Gala, emphasizing the importance of giving everyone a chance, independent of their social status.

Why should it be for people who can afford to come to The Pierre? It ought to be for everybody.”
Dr. David Osher, Vice President of American Institutes for Research

The “Mad Hot Ball” Gala has been around for a quarter of a century already and it has been held in places like The University Club, The Roosevelt Hotel, and The Plaza Hotel. In the last few years, the location moved to The Pierre Hotel, a high end and one of the top ten hotels in New York City

The “Mad Hot Ball” Gala is an annual fundraiser dance party. What differs from the other galas is that the people attending love to dance and actually dance to a live orchestra.

They celebrate the young people and the love of dancing while ensuring that their mission continues to thrive.

Find more about Pierre Dulaine here.

The founding of Dancing Classrooms by Pierre Dulaine

We all know that from time to time, our world gets to be called home by some of the most lovely people. They are the people that actively engage in making it better than it was before they arrived and that is why their story needs to be told out loud.

Peter Gordon Heney, also known as Pierre Dulaine, is no different. He was born in Jaffa and started dancing in Birmingham when he was 14 years old. In 1994 he founded Dancing Classrooms, the Social and Emotional Development Arts in Education Program, designed to cultivate essential life skills. Dancing Classrooms is a non-profit organization that teaches ballroom dancing to the upper elementary and middle school students.

Pierre Dulaine found a way to unfold his vision about a world that is more open and connected through what he calls a celebration where all the children have the opportunity to experience the gift of ballroom dance and the social confidence that results from it”.

How can we improve the society that we live in, if not by educating our children so they can grow into confident and respectful adults that have the power to create and sustain healthy communities?

Social dancing is a form of art where two people come together to form a connection and act as one. This is what Dancing Classrooms believes and why it encourages people to bring their children to take part in their ten-week program.

“The music was so good, I forgot I was dancing with a girl”

Henry, 5th grader New York City Public School

In 25 years of activity, they’ve trained around 600,000 children.
Can you begin to imagine the social impact they’ve had so far? Those kids develop incredible skills that, Pierre believes, will help them take risks that are necessary to learn and grow in other areas also, not just dancing.

Get familiar with Pierre Dulaine by listening to his TEDxHollywood talk.

The Dulaine Method

Now that we’ve come close to who they are and their vision, we want to introduce you to what they call The Dulaine Method. It’s their own unique way of approaching the process of teaching.

The dancing artists that teach, are trained to understand how to use the group to help the individual. Creating a safe space where everyone’s feelings are respected is very important. They are advocates of equality in order to foster the same qualities in their students.

If you want to see how a reunion of some of the alumni ambassadors feels like and hear some words from Pierre Dulaine himself, there is a short video here. It seems like many of their students went to performing arts schools. Because the Dulaine Method focuses a lot on creativity and freedom of expression, it’s easy to see why people went on to nourish creative lives.

You can discover more about Pierre Dulaine beautiful past and future projects here.  

Making the world a better place one dance step at a time

After getting to know more about these extraordinary people, we found out that Sir Ken Robinson wrote an article on Why dance is just as important as math in school. He is documenting, step by step, the power of dancing to change the behavior of a human being and how Dancing Classrooms is improving the way we teach.

”Dance can help restore joy and stability in troubled lives and ease the tensions in schools that are disrupted by violence and bullying.”

Sir Ken Robinson

Children that go to social dancing from a young age are much more likely to develop a strong sense of empathy, thus having a capacity for creating strong bonds with others. This leads to healthy and self-sufficient communities.

What have you missed from “Mad Hot Ball” Gala 2018?

If you have never attended The Gala before, get ready to dance!

Rodney Lopez, the executive director of Dancing Classrooms, told us that, unlike other similar events, they try to keep speeches to a minimum so they can leave as much time as possible for socializing and dancing. Besides this, the guests get to enjoy the performances of the current year’s class of fifth-graders and the amazing Youth Dance Company.

Fundraising being one of the key moments, you get to participate in a Live Auction and Paddle Raise where you can bid for some interesting prizes and contribute to their program. There is also a portion of the ticket and table sales that go directly to Dancing Classrooms.

In other words, you make sure that those kids will have a place to nurture human qualities that will continue to positively leave their mark on this world.

If you’re curious to find out more about the “Mad Hot Ball” Gala 2018, read our previous article.

If you have never attended The Gala before, get ready to dance!

2019 Dancing Classrooms “Mad Hot Ball” Gala

The next “Mad Hot Ball” Gala is set to take place on 10th April 2019 at the historical Pierre Hotel, Manhattan, New York.

It is going to be an amazing event because they will celebrate their 25th anniversary! This a good opportunity to honor all the amazing people who changed so many lives through their love for dancing and humankind.

Amongst all the former students and friends who supported the project along so many years, you will be able to raise a glass of champagne to Founders of DANCING CLASSROOMS who are being honored at the event: Pierre Dulaine himself, his talented dance partner Yvonne Marceau, along with the former Executive Director Otto Cappel and the longest serving Board Member Sheila A. Hoerle.

You will be enchanted by the Youth Dance Company, 24 ladies and gentlemen between the ages of 14 to 16. They are former students of the program and are currently part of the Weekend Dance Academy. They will perform a beautiful Ballroom & Latin medley choreographed by their Artistic Director, Ms. Alee Reed.  

If you’re not able to make it to the event, not to worry, you can still support their mission and donate. You will receive special recognition at the Gala and on the Dancing Classrooms website.

“Mad Hot Ball” Gala, 10th April 2019, The Pierre Hotel, New York.

 Be there to share with them your love and appreciation for dance!

Dancing Classrooms Website

Dancing Classrooms Facebook Page

Dancing Classrooms Instagram Page

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Is Dancesport An Individual Sport Or A Team Sport?



Dancesport, besides being a form of art, is also very athletic and it is also considered a sport. Generally, sports have been divided into two main categories:

  • Team sports
  • Individual sports

Because they are two different categories, they also shape you in different ways and teaches you different things in relation to yourself and with others.

Individual sports

They place you face to face with the reality of the competition. Only you can affect your performance and your result in a positive or in a negative way. Then, when you compete, you cannot count on the help or support of anybody else. There’s only you on the field, with your strength and your fears. What they teach you is that you have to rely only on yourself and be confident.

The peak of individual sports is that you don’t have to split the victory with anybody else. It’s you that wins and only you that loses.

Team sports

They are all about learning how to work as a team – several people discovering how to work together. They teach you how to position yourself with the other members of the team. You have to determine how to work with the others in any circumstances.

Most importantly, you have to learn to accept others’ mistakes – how to lose even if you played good. But one of the best parts is that you can count on the help of your mates and sometimes you win even if you didn’t perform at your 100%.

Dancesport – individual & team sport

Then in which category do we put dancesport? The competition is between couples, so we have to consider them as individual players competing against each other, but a couple is made of two athletes. So would you define dancesport as an individual or a team sport? What if it is both at the same time?

Why a team sport?

Definitely, you can say that dancesport is a team sport. First of all, there are two people trying work as one and the connection between the two partners is crucial in dancing. Everything needs to be in harmony and whatever one partner does, will affect more or less the other. If you make a mistake or do not perform at your best, the other half of the “team” can’t show their best.

Nevertheless, same as in any other team sport, you learn to accept and work with your partner as they are. Along with your coach, you decide what are your strengths and weaknesses and use them strategically. Furthermore, at the base of the partnership should be faith and support. You should believe in each other.

Why an individual sport?

At the same time though, dancing is so much individual. It is you on the floor. As dancing is a sport, you need to have the right technique, you need to be in shape, and take care of your diet. Nobody is going to do it for you – not your partner and certainly not your trainers.

Furthermore, being also a form of art, in dancing, you need to perform for the audience and engage with them. You need to translate the emotions you get from the music and your partner into your own movement. This is what will differentiate you among the other couples. You must be unique and together with your partner, your couple will be recognizable.

Dancesport shapes you as an athlete and as a person like no other sport. It is such a particular situation where two people become one unit, still being individuals inside it.


Also, make sure you check 4 Aspects of Dancesport Which You Won’t Find In Other Sports


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What Dancesport Training Camps Should You Go To?



One of the most important parts of the life of dancers is the preparation before a competition. Usually, before a busy season of competitions, there are several camps organized by great dancers or clubs. The role of camps is to help you develop into a better dancer through mastering the technique and learn key principles of dancing from the best teachers.

We have already discussed the topic of training camps in another article here, but this time we simply want to point out some of the best camps from the WDC and WDSF worlds.

1. THE CAMP – Wuppertal, Germany

Most of us dancers search for lectures online. In your searches is impossible not to stumble upon some lectures from THE CAMP – Wuppertal. But, what makes this camp so great?

First of all, it has some of the great teachers from the industry and the location – The Historical Town Hall – is absolutely stunning. Everything is so well thought and the purpose is to leave Wuppertal inspired and focused.

Here is the teachers’ list of the 2019 edition that has just ended:

What Dancesport Training Camps Should You Go To?

To keep a close eye on the next year’s event make sure you visit their website or Facebook Page

2. Dancing Superstars Festival – Bremen

In 2019 the Dancing Superstars Festival will be at its 6th edition and it is announced better than ever. The coaches that will hold the workshops are some of the biggest legends: Slavik Kryklyvyy, Catia Vanone, Fabio Selmi, or Julie Fryer just to name a few.

Here you can see the full list of coaches and apply for the Congress that will happen between 31st of May and 2nd of June. And a small hint from us, don’t miss out on the Galaball on June 1st. You’ll witness some outstanding shows from great dancers in a glamorous ambiance with a live orchestra.

3. Summer Dancecamp – Denmark

What’s a summer without a dance camp? Well, the perfect one would be the Summer Dancecamp. Why is it perfect? They are, as they state on their website a “dance camp independent of federations, dance schools, clubs and organisations – everyone is welcome regardless of affiliation”.

World Champions Kristina and Peter Stokkebroe and Frank Høgh are on their 8th year of organizing this camp for every dancer of any level to come and learn from the best. For us, it sounds like the perfect environment where every dancer will feel welcomed.

This year the camp is going to take place between 7th – 12th July, so make sure you sign up here.

4. Edita Daniute International Training Camp – Trakai

Happening in Lithuania between 14th and 21st of July, this camp organized by Edita Daniute – one of the best names from the ballroom world – is meant to develop all the aspects of a ballroom dancer. You will have morning jogging, aerobics & stretching, lectures and stamina practice.

Coaches: Edita Daniute, Mirko Gozzoli, Fabio Selmi, Pietro Braga, Salvatore Todaro, Catia Vanone, Alexey Silde, Alessandro Firmo, Marek Chojnacki, Michele Bonsignori, Anastasia Titkova.

5. Team Vivo Latino with la Grande Orchestra Italiana – Italy

Between 19-21 July, in Italy, Team Vivo Latino is organizing the biggest International Training camp and competition in Southern Italy. The camp and the competition will be in Mariotto which is 30-40 minutes by car or transfer from the Bari-Palese airport.  

Team Vivo Latino camp has one of the best line-ups of coaches. Are these ringing a bell?

  • Hans Galke
  • Sergey & Melia
  • Paul Killick
  • Andrej & Melinda
  • Viktor Nikovskiy
  • David Yin
  • Goran Nordin
  • Jukka & Sirpa
  • Maurizio Vescovo
  • Joanna Leunis.

And this is not all! The highlight of the event is going to be the “Jungle Pool Party” on the 20th July and the wonderful Grande Orchestra Italiana.

For updates make sure you follow Team Vivo Facebook or the organizer’s Instagram.

6. S&F Camp – Moscow

S&F Camp is organized by Alexey Silde and Anna Firstova dedicated mostly to latin. It is held in the Crocus Expo usually at the beginning of January and the second time it’s at the end of August and lasts for 5-6 days. During these days, the schedule looks like this: in the morning you have stretching sessions, around 4 PM you’ll have general physical preparation and in the evening there are practice sessions.

7. ZK Camp – Moscow

The ZK Camp is organized by Dmitry Zharkov and Olga Kulikova and is dedicated only to standard dancers. Same as the S&F Camp, it is held in Moscow in the Crocus Expo. The first ZK Camp is at the beginning of January and the second time is in September and usually, it lasts 3-4 days.

The schedule of the day is divided into two parts: physical preparation and practice sessions in the evening. Also, there are separate groups for children up to Junior II and separate groups for Youth. In charge of these groups are the teachers’ assistants: Matteo del Gaone, Evgeny Nikitin and Anton Besedin.

8. International Championships Preparation Quality Camp – Warsaw

Is organized by Lukasz & Aleksandra Tomczak from 13th to the 16th September in Warsaw, Poland. As the name suggests this camp is dedicated for those who are preparing to give their best at the International Championship that will take place on the 8th of October 2019.

The full list of teachers will be announced soon, but for now here are some of the names: Lyn Marriner, Massimo Giorgianni, Greg Smith and of course Lukasz & Aleksandra Tomczak. If you want to book your place, you can write to Lukasz on his Facebook or Instagram.

9. Mabo Training Camp – Italy

During 19-22 September you can participate at the Mabo training camp and receive valuable insights from some of the biggest legends of the industry.

What Dancesport Training Camps Should You Go To?

For future details, you can check the website or simply write to

10. Transylvanian Grand Prix

Transylvanian Grand Prix is one of the most important dancesport events in Romania. Top WDSF couples from around the come and fight for a place in the finals. The best thing about this event is the Transylvanian Training Camp which brings teachers such as William Pino, Pietro Braga, Barbara Ambroz, Giordano Vanone, Colin James and many others.

For now, there are not many details about the 2019 schedule, but we are excited to see what the Transylvanian Grand Prix has installed for us. In the meantime, you can read more about the 2017 event, as we were happy to participate at it.

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Maintaining The Core Principles & The Development Of Dancesport



Development of dancesport

In dancesport, as in any other sport, there are adjustments in the procedures and regulations that have the purpose of developing and keeping this sport evolving. There might be changes in the Federations, modifications in the ways adjudicators mark the dancers, different rules for costumes and routines or innovative ideas for the future of the sport.

Furthermore, as in any other form of art, in dancesport as well there are trends and currents that make an impact on the way dancers express themselves through their routines and movements. These trends come without doubt from the social environment. For example, in the ’60s, the ballroom and latin routines were more conservative let’s say. But so was society. Nowadays people express themselves more freely; the rhythm of life is much faster. And so is the rhythm in dancing.

Nevertheless, if we wish dancesport to maintain its identity, we should always keep in mind the core principles and the roots of this beautiful sport and art form. No matter if we are active competitive dancers, teachers, officials, adjudicators or dance enthusiasts.

Core principles

In a thought-provoking interview we had with Espen Salberg at the 2018 Blackpool Dance Festival, we tackled some important aspects like what he values at a dance couple or the evolution of dancesport.

Value of partnering

Dancesport is a style of dancing that is done in a holding position, thus the partnering skills are essential in order to create a harmonious dance.

Dancing together requires certain chemistry between the two dancers. As Espen said, dancing should be a conversation, a “question and answer situation”. This is obtained through a coherent choreography, leading & following ability and technique. You should see the dance actions being attuned and the bodyweight used in the right manner.

True leading

A very big topic of discussion in our world is the “lead & follow” subject. In dancesport, the man should be the leader and the woman should follow; the man gives the action and the woman has the reaction. Espen encourages men to actually be in charge of the situation and to command the right way.

Correct footwork

Espen confessed that he loves beauty. And what else are the ladies of ballroom & latin but a true depiction of beauty?

Nonetheless, it does not matter how superb the lady is with her hair, make-up, and dress. As long as her footwork is not impeccable, everything is for nothing. For Espen, beautiful leg actions are crucial in dancesport.

Joy of dancing

Let’s not forget that the reason we all dance is because it makes us feel good. This is the way we express ourselves. We love the music, the movement, the emotions, the show, our partners, the crowd and the other competitors.

As Espen puts it, dancers come in on the floor with sheer pleasure and they fill the room. In the end, we wouldn’t want to see a dancer that looks that he or she doesn’t want to be there.

The future of dancesport

Having in mind these values, we also need to think about where dancesport is going. What trends should we follow and which ones should we ignore? What’s for sure is that there should be a balance between slow & fast, traditional & innovative, artistic & athletic.  

“I hope in the reality of maintaining the character of the different dances packaged in a contemporary way – that is basically my desire, my wish.”
Espen Salberg


If you want to watch the whole interview and find out more about Espen Salberg’s vision and career, click here.

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