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Oak Meadow is Dancing with the stars

Oak Meadow Elementary School is Dancing with the Stars - with help from a good book. The nearly 160 voices of first and fourth graders shouting “rock, step, cha-cha-cha,” could be heard well beyond the walls of the Oak Meadow library on February 26.

“Practice this a minute a day, and you’ll be cha-cha-ing your life away!” Those were the words of world-champion dancer, and children’s book author Corky Ballas as he interacted with the students.

The star of ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars” chose Oak Meadow to debut his first book, “Dance with my Kitten.”  The book promotes Corky’s love for reading and dancing, while actually teaching the steps of the cha-cha to the reader.

The event was part of a collaborative effort between a campus parent, Corky Ballas and Oak Meadow Principal Lynn Dockery. All staff, parents and 525 students had the chance to take part in the event with Corky Ballas over a two-day period.

After hearing the book narrated by Florence Henderson of “The Brady Bunch,” Oak Meadow students had the opportunity to stand up and receive their first cha-cha lesson from Corky himself. Videos filled with music and instruction helped the students catch on to the Cuban-inspired dance moves. Initially, many students groaned about having to partner up, but once the music was turned up laughter and fun ensued.

Corky has plenty of experience in dance instruction, being the first professional dancer to create videos that teach the basic steps of various dance styles. The new book gives Corky the opportunity to reach young children and inspire them to dance.

“If you read this story a couple of times, you couldn’t help but do it,” said Corky.

When referring to his presence at Oak Meadow, Corky gives much of the credit to Dockery. With Oak Meadow being a “Leader in Me” campus, and one in a handful of Lighthouse schools in the nation, Corky felt that there was no better campus to unveil his first book.

With the leadership, teamwork and creativity that go into the art of dancing, Dockery noticed a distinct relationship between dance and the “Leader in Me” philosophy.

“You have to be a strong enough leader to allow people to follow in dancing, which is a great parallel for ‘The Leader in Me’ and our kids,” said Dockery.

“Dance with my Kitten,” will be one of a twenty book series that will feature new dances and animals. Each book will include a jump drive that integrates audio and visual materials into the learning experience. Thanks to Corky’s enthusiasm and passion for dance, many young boys and girls will have a first dance that will stay with them for a lifetime.


OakMeadow_DanceInstructionCorky show the students how to properly hold hands when dancing the cha-cha.Two students smile for the camera while dancing

The students learned the cha-cha much like contestants on Dancing with the Stars.

Corky dances the cha cha with Principal Dockery.

The students enjoyed seeing Principal Dockery take part in the cha-cha instruction with Corky.




Posted on Feb. 26, 2013