“If you can count to eight, you can learn to ballroom dance,” proclaimed Rodney Lopez, Executive Director of Dancing Classrooms. Looking dapper in a navy blue suit, lavender shirt and tie to match, Rodney was encircled by a group of lawyers from AABANY, who signed up for an evening of ballroom lessons on February 1 at the midtown dance studio that serves as the home of Dancing Classrooms, a non-profit organization founded more than 20 years ago to teach New York City school children how to develop social skills through ballroom dancing. Today, Dancing Classrooms pursues its mission of SEL (social and emotional learning) for school children throughout the five boroughs, across the country and across the globe.

In the Oscar winning film Philadelphia, Denzel Washington played a lawyer that liked to say “Explain it to me like a five year old.” True to the spirit of that aphorism, Rodney explained the basics of ballroom dancing to our participants as if they were a class of fifth graders that Dancing Classrooms regularly instructs. Our group was filled with mostly newcomers to ballroom dancing, and they appreciated the simple and fun way in which Rodney introduced them to taking their first steps in the merengue and the foxtrot.

After about an hour of instruction, our lawyers’ heads were filled with dance figures and steps that had them stepping sideways, backwards and forwards, but with each other and (somewhat) in time with the music. Rodney shared with the group that the founder of Dancing Classrooms, Pierre Dulaine, would be offering weekly classes at the studio starting on Feb. 8, which would culminate in the organization’s annual gala at the Pierre Hotel on March 15. He encouraged everyone to consider taking the lessons and joining Dancing Classrooms for the gala, to support their good work and mission.

Some of the participants practiced the steps they had just learned while others socialized over wine and hors d’oeuvres. Judging by the many smiles around the room, everyone had a good time learning to ballroom dance with Dancing Classrooms. We hope to run this event again some time in the near future, so stay tuned! Thanks to everyone who came out to dance with us.