Birmingham - Ballroom star to help pupils strut

16th April 2010 at 01:00

A world-famous ballroom dancer whose inspirational story was portrayed by Hollywood is teaching schoolchildren in Birmingham how to dance.

Pierre Dulaine was the inspiration for the 2006 film Take the Lead, in which Antonio Banderas depicts how he helped inner-city teenagers in New York gain a sense of self-respect through ballroom dancing.

His work has also been made into a docu-drama called Mad Hot Ballroom, where 6,000 ten-year-olds from New York compete in a ballroom dancing championship.

Mr Dulaine has now brought his programme to Birmingham and is working on a pilot with 150 ten-year-olds at four primary schools.

The award-winning dancer, who spent his teenage years in the city, is convinced the dance form can be used to teach vital life lessons to pupils. And he believes what works with schoolchildren in New York can be equally effective in the Midlands.

"Like New York, there are a lot of nationalities in Birmingham," he said. "But ballroom dancing can help break down barriers and treat everyone as equal."

Year 5 pupils from Turves Green Primary in Northfield, Chad Vale and St George's, both in Edgbaston, and Chandos Primary in Highgate are taking part in the 10-week pilot. IB.

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