Swing for Kids at Big City Swing's Follies

Our 5th graders from Academy for Global Citizenship were invited to be the opening act for the Big City Swing Follies this year. The Follies is an annual Vaudeville-style review featuring Big City Swing student and instructor performances and has been a staple event in the Chicago Swing Dance community for the past six years. The AGC kids had a blast preparing and performing for an audience of over 100 at the Vittum Theater in Wicker Park.

We'd like to give a HUGE thanks to Julee Mertz and the Big City Swing team for inviting us and giving our kids the experience of a lifetime!

15 Reasons All Children Should Learn to (Swing) Dance

If you follow Swing for Kids on TwitterInstagram, or Pinterest (which you should!), you've seen our recent posts about Judith Lynne Hanna's "15 Reasons that All Children Should Learn to Dance" originally published in her 1999 book, Partnering Dance and Education. Over the past four decades, Hanna has been conducting research on dance education in urban areas and the meaning of dance in villages and cities in Africa, and theaters, school playgrounds, and classrooms around the world.

Hanna's research strongly supports the need for dance education in public schools, which is something Swing for Kids believes in whole-heartedly. In this post, we'll take Hanna's 15 reason's that all children should learn to dance and put a Swing for Kids spin on it. Enjoy!

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Artist Residency at Prescott

Our Swing for Kids artists in residence, Nicolle and Heather, have been having a blast at Prescott Elementary this school year! They are working with the 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade classes for a full year artist residency. This curriculum explores the roots of Jazz dancing in African rhythms, then moves on to solo Charleston, Tap, Swing, Lindy Hop, and ends with classic Hip-Hop.

Our lessons are fast paced, fun, and engaging! Each session allows for students to see these dance forms in action through vintage videos and learn about the structure and instruments associated with jazz and swing music.

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Why Swing for Kids is so Important

Swing for Kids was founded on the idea that social and emotional learning is just as important as academic subjects. We empower kids in our program by cultivating the non-cognitive skills that help kids be successful both personally and academically in the future.

Research shows that explicitly teaching kids skills like self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsive decision making lead to positive outcomes. Our curriculum and instruction is rooted in cultivating these five competencies.

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What is Swing Dance?

The first question we often get here at Swing for Kids is, "What exactly is Swing Dancing, anyway?" So, I thought it would be the perfect subject for our very first blog post. As I began to write,  I quickly realized that it would be much more compelling to show our readers exactly what Swing Dance is and why we love it. I enlisted the help of Swing for Kids' lead instructor, Nicolle Wood, as well as several Swing savvy friends to hunt down these youtube clips that we here at Swing for Kids feel encapsulate the history, variety, and energy of the Swing Era.  Enjoy!

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Guest Posts!

Check back soon for the official Swing for Kids blog! This is where you'll learn all about what the kids are up to in our Swing for Kids schools and hear inspiring stories from swing dancers around the world.

In the mean time, check out guest post on the The Frankie Manning Foundation website and interview with Executive Director, Kim Kays, on the The Lindy Affair blog!