The idea to provide ballroom dancing instruction at Calabash was the brainchild of Larry and Gloria Weinstein. Mrs. Weinstein was a Volunteer Reader at Calabash and was inspired by the documentary “Mad Hot Ballroom”, where elementary kids in NYC vie to compete in a citywide dance competition. The Weinsteins were interested in starting a program for the San Fernando Valley, and approached former Calabash Principal, Susan Shaffer, to ask if Calabash could be their pilot school. She agreed, and now years later the Weinsteins’ “Best Foot Forward” program has blossomed to include 18 local schools and the list is growing each year.
As part of the Calabash curriculum, students in both the 4th and 5th grades get an entire year of ballroom dance lessons and have the chance to participate in an exciting ballroom dance competition each May with other schools in the program. Each week the students look forward to learning the Tango, the Merengue, the Swing, the Foxtrot, the Jive, the Viennese Waltz, Disco and the ChaCha. We can be very proud of our Calabash students — they’ve taken home first place trophies for the last several years of competition!! You can see the trophies proudly displayed in our main office.
The PTO funds this year-long program, which is subsidized by Best Foot Forward (bffdance.org). The program teaches them so much more than just Ballroom Dance (though what a gift in itself!); students demonstrate positive character values, interact in a positive manner with their peers and come to understand the positive benefit of regular exercise in their daily lives. Students have shown improved self-esteem as well as increased self-confidence. They exhibit respect for each other and positive social interaction skills with their peers.