Conga Kids utilizes a standards-based program that teaches students a range of dances, including: Merengue, Swing, Salsa, Tango, and Fox Trot. Our dynamic partner dance program aims to advance social equity, create a foundation of respect, teamwork, confidence and leadership, while fostering critical interpersonal and community engagement skills.
The program consists of 20 classes over ten weeks and ends with a culmination ceremony for the entire grade. Parents are invited to dance with their kids at the end of the program. Following the culmination, five “couples” are chosen to represent their school and compete on a regional level against schools from all over Los Angeles County.
As a program based on building community, self-confidence, and trust, the Conga Kids Program developed two main practices and core principles, respect and the circle.
The emphasis on respect is for not only the teaching artists and teacher, but for classmates and one self. The ways these are implemented are through, but not limited to the following practices:
Teaching artists will:
- Always address students as “ladies and gentlemen.”Our goal is to shift the way students see themselves and each other.
- Reinforce essential elements of a respectful ballroom class.
- Attempt to address all students by their name
- Review knowledge and skills as needed until students show mastery
- Raise hands when contributing to class discussions
- Address the teaching artist as “Ms.” or “Mr.”
- Execute a firm “job interview handshake” when switching partners
- Stand up tall and proud.
- Walk in and out of class in escort position.
- Dance in proper ballroom position (4 elements)
- Bow to their partner when instructed
- Dip their partner when instructed
Everyone deserves respect
Conga Kids respects every child’s gender identity, and will work with individual schools to establish protocols for students who identify as transgender, non-binary, etc.
The circle is a symbol of our community and trust. We use a circle with the following guidelines:
All dances are taught in the circle, with the exception of the solo salsa and electric slide.
- Teaching artists should utilize the center of the circle as their instructional area.
Students enter in escort position and form their circle in a counter-clockwise direction. Students stay in escort position until instructed to switch to "flat pancake” or ballroom position, depending on the dance.
Teaching artists should…
- Demonstrate twice
- Let students explore
- Regroup, return…
- Demonstrate again
Switch exit escort position partners when possible. Make your students familiar with getting into escort position with whomever.