Sunday, October 15, 2006

Tango for Kids in Los Angeles

Contact Info:
Tel: 310-895-0583
Email: karanrasdan@yahoo

Participating School:
Watts Learning Center
310 West 95th Street
Los Angeles 90003

A community project to teach second- and third-graders the Argentine tango started in September 20th at the Watts Learning Center in South Central Los Angeles.

"I am very eager for the program to start," said Ms. Fisher, the school Principal, "The kids will benefit from having a global perspective on music and dance arts."

"It's great to just bring this art form to kids who otherwise would not be learning this dance" said Tatiana, one of the volunteer dance teachers.

"The idea is to let the kids have fun, a kind of fun very different from what they experience in everyday America," said Karan Rasdan, who is organizing the project.

The benefits are that the kids are more respectful of each other, especially of the opposite sex, that they are comfortable dancing with one another, and that they are sharing the space with other couples."This is the only program of its kind in the United States, that I know of, in which kids are being taught the Argentine tango."

Rasdan, a Los Angeles tanguero, or tango dancer, said the tango program came from his participation in the Self-Expression and Leadership Program offered by Landmark Education in Los Angeles.

"It's an elegant dance," he said, "one that engages the kids' artistic abilities, provides them with yet another outlet for their emotions and self-expression, promotes their fitness and creates a community feeling among them.
"Once they get over their initial shyness, they take to the rules well, and enjoy the experience,"
Karan noted.

"I taught the class once about a year ago, at the request of Sima, a teacher at this school who I know from church, and I'll never forgot the experience, how rewarding it was. So when it came time for a community project, this idea was the finalist - something I'm enjoying doing, and something that involves my passion."
Tango teachers - professionals and amateurs -- will volunteer their time to teach a group of about 20 children per class.

Each teaching couple (a leader and follower required to dance tango) will commit to one day. When they arrive at the school, they consult the tango roster to find out what the students have been studying in the last class.
The teachers then start the students off with the basic steps, and if they can do the steps taught at the previous class well, they will teach them the next steps of the dance, or they will continue practicing the basics, such as lead-follow in a circle.

After the classes, the teachers write down on the roster what they taught so that the next group of teachers can pick up from that point on.

The class will start September 20 at the elementary school located at 95th Street and Broadway, and continue every Monday, from 1:30 p.m. to 2:15 p.m. and 2:20 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

If you are a Tanguero or a Tanguera, and would like to volunteer once a month, please email or call him at 310-895-0583.

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