Ballroom Dance-Off at Hampton Bays Elementary School

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“Dancing with the Stars” celebrities surely would have been given a run for their money if they were to participate in a dance-off with Hampton Bays third- and fourth-graders on Friday, March 19. A total of 56 kids (28 couples) turned out to foxtrot, meringue and swing their hearts out at the Hampton Bays Elementary School gymnasium that night for the fifth annual “Ballroom Dancing Competition.”

The students, who partnered up with classmates for the event, had previously learned the steps to each dance during a two-week course in physical education classes, according to teacher Frank Mancuso. During the competition, which was narrowed down to three winning couples for each grade, the kids boogied down to a variety of Latin dance songs and contemporary favorites such as Shania Twain’s “Man! I Feel Like a Woman!” The kids also paired up with their parents and older siblings for a special foxtrot.

Hailey Troyan and Antonio Scotto took first place honors for the third grade, Reilly Tupper and Joey Sapio earned second place and Jermaine Crosby and Skylar Dorchak came in third. For the fourth grade, Amber Reyes and Byron Daun won first place, Natasha Valentin and Daniel Dimijian came in second and Collette Levine and Sean Donohue nabbed third place distinction.

According to Mr. Mancuso, the dance training gives kids life lessons that they can’t learn about from books. “It gives special growth you just can’t teach,” he said. “And the kids really seem to love it.” Arthur Murray dance instructor Victor Holguin assisted Mr. Mancuso in judging duties.