Miromar Lakes, FL – Step by step, classroom by classroom around the globe, world renowned dancer Pierre Dulaine is breaking down barriers and changing lives through ballroom dance. The four-time world champion and creator of the critically acclaimed Dancing Classrooms program is coming to Miromar Lakes Beach & Golf Club in October for a special evening of fundraising to help expand his program here in Southwest Florida.
“Life is very tough for children growing up. I was very shy and timid as a child, had no confidence. I started ballroom dancing at the age of 14 in Birmingham, England and saw how my life changed. I thought it could do the same for the children I was working with as a volunteer at the time in New York City,” Dulaine said of his idea for Dancing Classrooms. “ I started the program with GREAT difficulty. No principals wanted it, my colleagues thought I was mad, but I persevered and almost 19 years later over 350,000 students have been through our program.”
Dulaine’s first dancing classroom was in the New York inner-city in 1994. The 10-week social development program for 5th graders is now a proven vehicle which changes the lives of not only the children who participate in the program, but also the lives of the teachers and parents who support them. Dulaine’s life journey was the subject of the films “Take the Lead” (2006), with Antonio Banderas starring as Dulaine and the award-winning documentary “Mad Hot Ballroom.” (2005)
Margaret Antonier, President and CEO of Miromar Development was inspired by the documentary “Mad Hot Ballroom” to bring the program to Florida for the first time. It was launched in Lee County in 2008, funded by Miromar Outlets and administered through the Foundation for Lee County Public Schools. In the past five years more than 2,000 students have participated in the program, culminating each year with the formal Colors of the Rainbow team match held at Miromar Design Center.
“When we started the program here, I truly never imagined the impact it would have on the lives of the boys and girls. It is an incredible gift to see the transformation of the children into young ladies and gentlemen,” Antonier said. “I look forward to supporting Dancing Classrooms for many years to come, and my wish is to see the program expand to include every fifth grader in every public school in Southwest Florida.”
To help achieve that goal of expanding the program, the public is invited to help change a child’s life with an evening of Dancing Under the Stars on Friday, October 19 from 6 to 9 p.m. at Miromar Lakes Beach & Golf Club, the #1 Community in the United States. Pierre Dulaine will lead an evening of ballroom dancing with demonstrations and lessons and a spirited “Can you dance like a 5th grader?” competition. Guests will enjoy gourmet tasting stations, beer or wine & desserts on the pool deck at the award-winning Beach Clubhouse. The dancing will continue with vocalist Marvilla Marzan performing live into the evening. A Chinese Auction will include weekend get-aways, jewelry, home décor, golf outings, dinners and more! A minimum donation of $75 per person in advance; $100 at the door. The ticket cost for one couple can provide an additional student with the life-changing opportunity to participate in the Dancing Classrooms program. Purchase tickets online at Miromaroutlets.com or call (239) 948-3766.
Dulaine recently took Dancing Classrooms overseas to his hometown of Jaffa. In a community with both Palestinian-Israeli and Jewish-Israeli students, the elements of breaking down barriers and conflict resolution took on new meaning in a region that has been besieged by conflict for decades.
IF YOU GO:
What: Dancing Under the Stars- An elegant evening of dancing, entertainment, gourmet lakeside tasting stations and more which will help to change children’s lives. Proceeds benefit the Dancing Classrooms Program administered by the Foundation for Lee County Public Schools
Where: Miromar Lakes Beach & Golf Club 18601 Miromar Lakes Parkway, Miromar Lakes, FL 33913
When: Friday, October 19 from 6 to 9 p.m. Tickets: Minimum donation $75 per person in advance; $100 at the door. Purchase advanced tickets online at MiromarOutlets.com or call (239) 948-3766.