Two sweaty palmed, nervous middle-school students stand on stage. Their feet begin to move in unison as Latin music cascades through the speakers.
“Two, three, cha-cha-cha.” With each step their confidence grows, despite having missed a few steps. A smile appears on both of their faces as the audience at Perspectives Charter School begins to clap.
The performance was part of a local non-profit’s efforts to teach children how to build self-esteem and relationships through dance, music and theater. Urban Gateways brings arts education to students all across Chicago through after-school activities and touring performances. The programs’ curriculum keeps students engaged in school and off of the streets. They are excited about coming to school so they can learn about music history, ballroom, swing and African dance.