Extravaganza lets Brookhaven fifth graders flaunt their ballroom abilities

MORGANTOWN — Some serious moves were on display Friday as the fifth graders at Brookhaven Elementary hopped, bopped, tangoed and trotted their way through the Ballroom Bulls Dance Extravaganza.

The popular program unique to Brookhaven is headed up by instructor Bill Duff, who’s spent the last couple months teaching his nimble-footed followers classics like the merengue, foxtrot, rumba, tango, salsa and swing.

“When they first started out and I told them they’d have to touch one another … At this age you know what that means,” Duff joked. “We took it slow in the beginning, but then after about three weeks, they got in closed position. No big deal. Nobody died. Nobody went to the hospital.”

Usually reserved for basketball and volleyball, the school’s gym was instead filled with fans of ballroom dance as grinning family members filmed the performance.

“Of all the programs here at Brookhaven, this is the one that I’m most excited about,” Deanna Aitken said as her son, Quinten, tangoed by.

Asked if Quinten shared her enthusiasm, she said, “Oh yeah, he loves it.”

And according to Duff, the students boogie away with more than the ability to cut a rug.

“They’ve learned about cooperation, teamwork, politeness and elegance … It gives them self-confidence, self-esteem and better coordination,” Duff said. “They’ve really done a great job.”

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