The reason for my involvement with children goes all the way back to my own teenage years in England. Having spent 13 years in the Middle East, I arrived in England as a very shy child with a heavy accent, settling in the midlands, in Birmingham. Several children in my school class went to a dancing school that happened to be on a main road near my house. I decided this would be fun to try but soon learned it would take a lot of work to catch up to the other students so private lessons were necessary.
To pay for my weekly half-hour lesson I did a morning paper-round and washed cars on weekends. Eventually I passed my Bronze test and joined the other students in the Silver class. One Sunday afternoon I attended a dance competition as a spectator at the local Garryowen Ballroom; unfortunately without my father’s consent since Sundays were reserved only for religious things. But that afternoon something stirred inside me…..I knew I wanted to become a champion.
Dance changed my whole life!
With a lot of enjoyable hard work it gave me everything I dreamed of. From being very shy I became confident; my accent no longer mattered to me. I learned to stand up straight and shake hands with a positive attitude that received attention. I became the champion of my dreams.
While performing evenings on Broadway in the musical Grand Hotel my days were free to volunteer at the Professional Performing Arts School. I saw myself in the eyes of the children, saw the love and fun they had moving together and remembered what it did for me and watched what it did for them.
But there were so many other children in New York City that did not have the same opportunity and so Dancing Classrooms was born. This outlet for expression, musically and emotionally, connects their positive feelings for one another, focuses their physical energy and builds their self-esteem and social skills.
The rest is history.