Pam Boyd

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February 15, 2012
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Dancing with the Bear Cubs

Need to know the difference between the Lindy Hop and the swing? Ask a local elementary kid.

For the past six weeks, students at Red Hill Elementary School have been learning the paces of not only those popular ballroom dances, but also the tango and the waltz. Their efforts culminated last Friday night at the Dancing with the Bear Cubs - a special evening of dance with a special purpose.

The event was a fund-raiser for RHES student Maddie Fetterolf who lost her mother Robyn earlier this year. The gym was standing room only for Dancing with the Bear Cubs. Before the kids took the floor, Maddie's grandmother spoke about how special it was to celebrate Robyn's life with music, dance and joyful children. The event raised $6,000 for Maddie's scholarship fund and donations will still be accepted through Friday, Feb. 17.

"We taught the four dances for six weeks, spending about a week and a half per dance," said Shaina O'Sullivan, RHES music teacher. "The student's favorite dance was the swing. It was fun and energetic."

After teaching the kids basic moves, the students were let loose to come up with their own routines and tricks.

O'Sullivan said a few simple rules helped the elementary kids overcome their natural aversion to physical contact with the opposite sex.

"We talked a lot about ballroom etiquette in class, and how to behave in the ballroom," O'Sullivan said. "Girls were not allowed to say 'no' to someone who asked them to dance, and boys only had one minute to find a partner. Also, we switched partners every two minutes so that they were always with someone new."

O'Sullivan said the kids also talked a lot about making new friends, learning how to work with different people, and how to be a good partner by helping those who are having a hard time learning the dance during the ballroom lessons.

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The VailDaily Updated Feb 15, 2012 01:30PM Published Feb 15, 2012 01:26PM Copyright 2012 The VailDaily. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.