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Sunrise students waltz to second-place dance trophy

Six couples from Sunrise Elementary School competed in the Colors of the Rainbow dance team match May 21 and brought home a trophy for second place.

The Sunrise students competed against students from Ridgewood Elementary in Kent, Parkside Elementary and Shorewood Elementary in Highline and Daffodil Elementary in Sumner.

The students learned their skills as part of the Dancing Classrooms program at Sunrise this spring.

Dancing Classrooms is a standards-based social development program and an in-school dance residency. It provided each fifth-grade class with a professional ballroom dance teaching artist, Cam Briggs, for a 10-week period. Twice each week for 45 minutes the students learned six ballroom dances: merengue, rumba, foxtrot, waltz, tango and swing.

Beyond learning the steps to the dances, physical education teacher JoAnn Amberg wrote, this unique program focused on the developmental needs of 10- to 11-year-old children, reinforcing their social skills – learning about respect, treating others carefully, cooperating and accepting others even if they are different.

The program was made possible by grants from Arts Alive!, the Muckleshoot Charity Fund, Puyallup Tribe Charity Trust and Sunrise PTA.

The Dancing Classrooms program was launched in 1994 in the New York City area. Pacific Ballroom Dance of Auburn started partnering with Dancing Classrooms in this area in the fall of 2010.

Students in Kimberly Stone, Nancy Tubbs, Marsha Henderson and Diane Hammons classes participated in the Sunrise program.

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