Hats are off to Danceworks of Milwaukee for putting together another great dance competition with the Milwaukee Public Schools! With about 1500-2000 kids participating, the rafters nearly came down yesterday at the Bradley Center when both Ballroom and Tap competitions took place. Danceworks organizes dance instructors and volunteers to go into the MPS schools and enthusiastically teach the kids their dance steps and choreography 2-3 times/week. Principals and teachers put their support behind the program because they know it helps kids learn, builds self-esteem, and channels that physical energy of 4 – 6th graders. It all came down to this competition yesterday.
Last year I went as an observer, but of course, took along my camera. I donated the images to Danceworks and yesterday, I became one of the volunteer photographers, along with Pete Diantoni and Michael from Third Coast Digest). We had our eyes full, as the action is fast paced and the smiles ubiquitous!
At the end of both Ballroom and Tap, there is an award ceremony. The MC, with a full-on British accent, announces the winners from 9th place to 1st place. With two teams left in the Swing category for Tap, the announcer called out the second place team. In the corner of my camera viewfinder, I spotted the team that won 1st place, expressing their joy. The boy first put his hands up over his face in joy and surprise that they had won. I quickly zoomed in to capture him fanning himself, as if he was about to faint with the news. How fun can it get to photograph an event like this?
Next year you should plan to see part of this great event. Like soccer, sometimes the parents are screaming louder than the kids and you will be inspired by the skill and determination that these young people show for dance. OR, just call Danceworks and sign up for one of their Adult classes! You’ll love it!