The best thing about dance is to be immersed in it. Last year I did a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article on “Dancing Classrooms,” originated by international ballroom dancer Pierre Dulaine, who inspired the documentary “Mad Hot Ballroom” and Antonio Banderas’ “Take the Lead.” (And I loved every minute of it!)
I attended classes and the finale, “Colors of the Rainbow,” where the best of six Pittsburgh Public Schools competed for gold, silver and bronze. There were tears of happiness and sadness at the end and I shed a few of my own.
This year I went to the second year’s competition at Pittsburgh Allderdice High School. The original six elementary schools were back — Allegheny, Arlington, Martin Luther King, Phillips, Spring Hill and West Liberty — plus Sunnyside, St. Agnes and St. Benedict the Moor.
Yes folks, “Dancing Classrooms” is expanding. That was only the semi-finals at Allerdice on Dec. 11. There will be a whole new group of school this spring, with the finals some time in May. (By the way, Mr. Dulaine will be returning for a benefit.) Credit Mark Rogalsky, who is transferring the passion he saw in “Mad Hot Ballroom” to Pittsburgh, and his staff at Mercy Behavioral Health.
Whatever the reason, it’s a real plus for Pittsburgh schools’ image. I arrived at Allderdice with the competition in full swing. What follows is a series of photographs by Archie Carpenter (to be released over the next few postings). Of course, it’s hard to take a bad picture of children dancing. Enjoy!
More to follow…