Best Foot Forward

We dedicate this blog to the memory of Larry Weinstein, Cofounder of Best Foot Forward

Fordney Foundation’s Director, Marilyn Fordney and her husband, Assistant Director, Sandor Havasi, were invited to the 6th Annual Best Foot Forward Dance Festival Competition. Best Foot Forward is a non profit organization based in Calabasas, CA.  They are dedicated to changing the lives of elementary school age children one step at a time through the study of dance. Fordney Foundation is a sponsor of Best Foot Forward.

Larry Weinstein’s widow and Cofounder of Best Foot Forward, Gloria, hosted this dance competition. There were 20 elementary schools performing that day.  The festival competition was split between 10 schools in the morning

and 10 schools in the afternoon. This special event was held at El Camino High School in Woodland Hills, CA on May 17, 2014.  Some of the local schools that participated in the morning competition were:  Anatola Elementary School, Calabash Charter Academy, Parthenia Elementary School and Pomelo

Smiling winners BFF Dance Competition 5/17/14

Elementary School, just to name a few schools.

Each school had 16 heats (a heat is a preliminary round in a contest) composed of dance couples from each school.  Five professional judges were invited and were introduced giving details about their background in dance.  Then two dance instructors gave short demonstrations of Merengue, Fox Trot, Quickstep, Swing, Cha Cha and Salsa.  This information gave the audience visual information on how each dance should be performed.

The boys dressed in white shirts with black pants.  The girls wore colorful dance dresses and some of the girls had flowers in their hair.  As each heat was called, the couples entered the dance floor with the boys escorting their ladies with precise etiquette and stance.  The first heat was a Disco dance followed by heats in Quickstep, Tango, Cha Cha, Merengue, Salsa, Fox Trot, Hustle and Swing.  The audience went wild with shouts, screams, whistles and clapping for their favorite schools and dancers.  There were so many people, it was standing room only in this huge physical education gymnasium.

A special gift, Best Foot Forward charm on a necklace, was given to Gloria Weinstein as a token of appreciation.  Gloria gave a speech and also mentioned that her entire family which included her grandchildren, were all in attendance.  Gloria read testimonials from children who had been through the dance program.  These testimonials conveyed what the program meant to them and to their families and how it changed their lives.

After that, there was a raffle for prizes of free dance lessons and two Trader Joe shopping bags filled to capacity.

In the morning competition, trophies were awarded to the top three schools:  Calabash Elementary School won two first place trophies.  Dearborn Elementary School won a second place trophy.  Beckford Elementary School won both second and third place trophies.

To end the program, a special dance was announced in honor of Larry Weinstein – all the dance students headed for the dance floor and did a final dance to the music of Frank Sinatra’s ‘I Did It My Way.’  Tears could be seen from many attendees and dancers, as the students danced in Larry’s honor.  We all wished he could still be with us.

Thought Of The Week:

“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.”      –   William Shakespeare

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Shane Meuwissen is the Media Specialist for Fordney Foundation.  He is a former dance instructor who know works with his company Slow Motion Dance Videos capture the beauty of dancing. If you would like to learn more about Shane and his video work, visit his website