Dancing With Our Local Schools Winter Showcase – December 12, 2013

Dancing With Our Local Schools – Winter Showcase

It may have been a normal Thursday night in the suburban neighborhood of Newbury Park, but you could not prove that by the streets within a two mile radius of the Maple Elementary School between the hours of five o’clock and six thirty. There was not a single parking space available and hundreds of cars everywhere. It looked like something big was happening and I’m here to tell you, indeed it was!

In the auditorium of Maple Elementary School, the Third Annual Dancing With Our Local Schools Winter Showcase was being held, sponsored by the Fordney Foundation and organized by Dance 4 Wellness. The incredibly talented and vivacious Maria Durant, Founder of Dance 4 Wellness was the evening’s emcee.

Monet and Loren Performing

This is a program that is very dear to us all, as it enables children artistically to express themselves through ballroom dancing. It is the vision of Marilyn Fordney and her husband Sandor Havasi, Founders of Fordney Foundation. Mrs. Fordney, a former pro-am dancer herself, addressed the audience with her very inspiring words on what the organization means to her and how thrilled we all are to be able to come together for this special night of dance to see her vision become her dream come true.

If you looked around the room, there wasn’t an empty seat in the house. In fact, it became impossible to seat all the people who came to this showcase. It was standing room only for all the mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, grandparents, friends and teachers who came to see these students perform. We had a huge turnout. It was very exciting for our participating schools to be in a room with so much energy. Here are the schools that participated in this fun event, showcasing the Tango, Swing, Cha-Cha and Salsa.

Walnut Elementary

Maple Elementary

Conejo Elementary


MATES Charter

River Oaks Charter School

Everyone enjoyed watching the evening unfold with each school performing ballroom dances they learned in the 12 week, 20 – 40 hour program. Maria also introduced two young ballroom dancers taking classes from her that performed for us and they were quite good.

There were many people to thank for this special evening event. There was an award ceremony presented by Marilyn Fordney. An award was given to Maria Durant for her outstanding achievement in both ballroom dance instruction to the schools as well as her exceptional abilities to organize this annual showcase. Awards were also given to Maria’s marvelous team who also instructed the students. Melanie Dayan, Kelly Hall and Brian Coyne each personally received an award by Mrs. Fordney.

As an extra added attraction and treat, we were entertained by the dance team of Monet Pinkett and Loren Silverman. Monet and Loren are both 11 years old and two of Fordney Foundation’s Amateur Youth Champions. Everyone was transfixed with their smooth, flawless style in several of the ballroom dances. We would also like to congratulate Monet and Loren for winning three regional first places in a row recently. Pretty good for only dancing together for five months!

Then it was time for our raffle drawing where prizes were given out to lucky winners in the audience. And last, but not least, all the students who danced and participated in this event received a beautiful medallion for their hard work and achievement in this program presented on behalf of the Fordney Foundation and given out by Mrs. Fordney, Principal Santos, and the dance instructors.

We would like to acknowledge all the teachers, instructors, principals, students and parents/families for your hard work, time and participation in making this event a huge success! Special thanks go to Bonnie Marcus, Director of Operations for “over the top” coordination and follow through, Sandor Havasi for videotaping and photographing tonight’s event and of course, Principal Santos for sponsoring this event. I hope you will take time to read our interview with Principal Santos, also on this site, to find out more about him and Maple Elementary School.

This was a truly inspiring and magical dance evening. In keeping with the spirit of the season, it is wonderful to be given the opportunity to DANCE as a gift. For this special gift, we must again thank the wonderful partnership of Marilyn Fordney and Maria Durant!

Happy holidays to you all,


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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 https://slowmotiondancevideos.com/