Our History

Nancy J. Duncan

ND_CMPNancy Duncan, Founding Director of Dancing Classrooms Long Island (DCLI), has had an eclectic career spanning more than 45 years of experience in the performing arts and has worked in arts-in-education throughout her career. DCLI is a program of CoDanceCo, Inc., a non-profit organization founded by Duncan in 1983. Her work with CoDanceCo earned Duncan a New York Dance and Performance Award (also known as a Bessie) in 1991. Other highlights of her career include serving as the Artistic Director for London Contemporary Dance Theatre; producer of Dancing in the Isles: British Invasion ’97, a four-week British dance festival in New York City; and Community Outreach Programs Director for Mikhail Baryshnikov’s White Oak Dance Project production PastForward, touring both nationally and internationally.

Duncan was a founding member of the New York State DanceForce (1996-2013) and the Patchogue Arts Council (2007-2010), served for nine years as a member of the Suffolk County Citizens Arts Advisory Board, and has served as a dance grant panelist and Arts Administration Fellow for the National Endowment for the Arts, a grant panelist for the New Jersey State Arts Council and for the Huntington Arts Council.

Dancing Classrooms Long Island

In 2007, CoDanceCo, Inc., in partnership with American Ballroom Theater/Dancing Classrooms NYC, received a two-year grant from the Dana Foundation to license CoDanceCo as the artistic and administrative home for Dancing Classrooms on Long Island.

Dancing Classrooms Long Island’s fall 2007 teacher training course with Pierre Dulaine was hosted by the North Babylon School District’s Belmont Elementary School. This was made possible through the support Dr. Kim Lowenborg-Coyne, North Bablyon School District’s Director of Music and Art programs, Belmont Elementary Principal Valerie Jackson and their staff. In addition, Carol Brown, Arts-in-education Coordinator for Eastern Suffolk BOCES worked collaboratively with CoDanceCo and American Ballroom Theater as they planned and implemented the program on Long Island. The combined efforts of these extraordinary individuals were instrumental in the establishment of CoDanceCo as the National Network Site for Dancing Classrooms on Long Island.

Dancing Classrooms NYC

Executive Director Otto Cappel (active 1984 – 2009) along with show dance champions and Broadway dance couple Pierre Dulaine and Yvonne Marceau founded the American Ballroom Theater Company (ABrT) in 1984 and established the company’s educational arm, Dancing Classrooms, in 1994.

In 2005 Dancing Classrooms was the subject of the award-winning documentary “Mad Hot Ballroom” and Pierre’s story served as inspiration for the 2006 film “Take the Lead.”  This national and international exposure greatly accelerated interest in Dancing Classrooms from educators, school districts, parents, social workers, health professionals, and more!

As a direct result, America Ballroom Theater (whose name changed to Dancing Classrooms NYC in 2010) has licensed and trained more than 28 non-profit organizations to offer Dancing Classrooms to their communities.