On Saturday, November 16, 2013 you're invited to Dance The Night Away at the Troy Hilton to help The Dance Crazy youth ballroom program.

We recently chatted with President Ann Palin about Dance Crazy and why the program is so important to so many people.

Q: What is Dance Crazy? 

A: Dance Crazy is a registered 501c3, non-profit organization that promotes the enrichment of children through the sport of ballroom dance.  Now in our 9th year, the after-school program has taught more than 2000 children in 4th and 5th grades five different ballroom dances - fox trot, tango, cha cha, rumba and jitterbug.

The after-school program is a 16 week series of 1 hour classes held twice a week. Classes start the first week of October and conclude in February with a Grand Showcase Finale for all participating schools that celebrates and highlights the children's accomplishments to their family, friends and teachers.

Dance classes are conducted by ballroom dance instructors who are certified by the Artistic Director to teach the formal Dance Crazy syllabus.  Experienced Teaching Assistants are also available to assist in classes.  Dance instruction is offered to school faculty so they may also assist with instruction.  Dance Crazy requires at least 1 teacher from the school to be present at all classes.

Q: How can children participate?

A: All 4th and 5th grade boys and girls are invited to participate.  Some of the elementary schools, past and present, include A.W. Becker and Pieter B. Coeymans in Ravena, Ichabod Crane in Valatia, PS 16 in Troy, Martin Luther King, Yates and Zoller in Schenectady, Albany School of Humanities and Pine Hills in Albany, Rensselaer Park in Lansingburg, and Slingerlands Elementary in Slingerlands.

Anyone interested in bringing the Dance Crazy program to their school should contact Ann Palin at 518-371-5707 or email at apalin@nycap.rr.com.  I would be happy to meet with teachers, principals and PTA's to arrange an informational presentation.

In addition to the after-school program for the 4th and 5th grades, an opportunity is available to 6th through 8th grade students to continue their ballroom dance training.  Students entering 6th grade who have participated in the after-school program are invited to audition for the Dance Crazy Alumni Performance Team.  The team is coached by the Artistic Director of Dance Crazy and are taught exciting specialized choreography.  They perform at all Dance Crazy events and have been invited to perform at many local dance venues and fundraising events.  The team was recently asked to entertain senior citizens at the 20th anniversary celebration of the Beverwyck senior facility in Slingerlands.

Q: What are some of the benefits that can come out of Ballroom Dancing?

A: The Dance Crazy Mission: To bring the sport of ballroom dance into schools and provide children with a life-long resource that will increase physical activity, self esteem and confidence.  The social nature of the sport helps children develop a consideration and respect for others, sportsmanship, teamwork, school pride and goal-setting.

Two hot-button topics today are childhood obesity and particularly bullying.  Besides sharing our love of ballroom dance, we emphasize the physical activity that dancing provides the children for 2 hours a week.  It's also thought that dancing positively affects concentration and memory for all ages.

With regard to bullying, the children are expected to treat the instructor, their assistants, and each other with respect at all times while in class.  Any discipline issues are addressed by the school teacher(s) monitoring the classes.

Q: Why is this fundraiser so important?

A: As a non-profit organization, Dance Crazy relies on personal and corporate donations and sponsorships through foundations and grants.  Dance Crazy also sponsors fundraising events such as the upcoming "GREAT GATSBY GALA" being held on Saturday, November 16th at the Hilton Garden Inn on Hoosick St. in Troy.  Kevin Richards will be playing dance music all evening.  There will be several exciting dance showcase demonstrations by local dancers including the Alumni Performance Team.  There will be a silent auction and dance hosts and perhaps a surprise or two.  Roaring 20's period attire is encouraged.  For information please contact Ann Palin.

Q: If one cannot attend, is there another way to help the program?

A: All donations and sponsorships are greatly appreciated and directly benefit the Dance Crazy program.  Checks made payable to Dance Crazy can be mailed to Dance Crazy, POB 1354, Latham, NY 12110.  Tax ID furnished upon request.

We also welcome volunteers who may wish to assist in many areas of the program.


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