Itty bitty ballrooom: First graders waltz and salsa

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First graders danced the day away on Tuesday, performing the waltz, cha-cha, and salsa before a delighted crowd of doting parents to celebrate their last year at the Early Childhood Center in Flatlands.

“How they enjoyed themselves!” exclaimed Vella Cherkas, the music teacher at PS 207’s Early Childhood Center. “They got to show off their talents at ballroom dancing and their parents loved it.”

The event was called Memory Day. It started with the screening of a video teachers had been working on since the year began. It showcased all the fun and learning the eager scholars had enjoyed.

“They love seeing themselves on tape,” said Cherkas.

Then the kids launched into song — two songs, in fact. The first, in their native English, was about their beloved school. The second, “Les Colores,” they learned in Spanish class.

The day’s main event was an exhibition of the kids’ ballroom dancing skills, which Cherkas, a former concert pianist, had been cultivating to keep her biweekly music lessons dynamic and entertaining.

“They love it,” she said. “You should see my waltz. It was a masterpiece!”

The scholars didn’t start with the waltz, however. Oh no, the best was saved for last.

The recital kicked off with a rousing salsa, before the little partners joined in a touch and go cha-cha, Then — and only then — did the masterful waltz commence to the theme song of the animated movie “Anastasia.”

The kids certainly enjoyed themselves, but it was a labor of love for the parents. The concert was held in the facility’s all purpose lunch room, which provided no air conditioning comfort on a sweltering Summer morning.

“No air conditioner,” said Cherkas. “I was just dying.”

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at or by calling (718) 260-4514.
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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