Conga Kids is a common-core aligned partner-dance program that teaches students a range of dances including Merengue, Swing, Salsa, Tango, and Foxtrot. The dance curriculum naturally integrates with physical education and visual and performing arts, while also supporting English language arts and social science standards. In addition to learning and completing physical movements, students also develop language and contextual understanding around the dances, learning the significance of movement, rhythm, and symbolism of dance in a cultural and historical context.
The ten week, twenty-lesson program is offered twice yearly in the fall and spring semesters, culminating in a grade-level showcase for families, teachers, and younger students. Every lesson, masterful resident teaching artists introduce new steps and vocabulary and reinforce known material through practice and repetition. Classes also include written homework assignments, a professional demonstration by guest artists, administrative support and quality control via a team of program liaisons, and options to participate in local and regional competitions against schools from across Los Angeles County.
A program based on building community, self-confidence, and trust, Conga Kids utilizes two core principles: respect and the circle.
Conga Kids believes in a network of mutual respect. Upon entering a Conga Kids class, all students, teaching artists, and classroom teachers enter a contract of mutual respect:
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
- Tall posture, active listening, proper partner-dance position, etc.
- 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” and say “thank you” when switching partners
- Stand up tall and engage in active listening
- Walk in and out of class with a partner in escort position
- Dance in proper partner-dance position
- 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 schools to establish protocol for students who identify as transgender, non-binary, etc.
The circle is a symbol of our community and trust. We use the circle within the following guidelines:
- All dances are taught in the circle, with the exception of the Solo Salsa and Electric Slide
- Teaching Artists 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 frequently rotate to switch partners (Ladies in one direction, Gentleman the other)