West Side Elementary first-graders celebrate Valentine’s Day with dance

Published 8:52 am Monday, February 16, 2015

NW0215 West Side Valentines Tea B

Cupid worked his magic on the first-graders at West Side Elementary Friday and brought the boys and girls together for their first dance in honor of Valentine’s Day.

The students carried out the school’s tradition of hosting a Valentine’s Tea for first-graders and their parents. During the tea, students showed off their newly acquired dance skills in their best clothes and demonstrated the Tennessee Waltz for the gathered audience.

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For many students, it was their first dance with a boy or girl, and some declared it was going to be their last.

“I am never going to dance with a boy again,” declared Sarah Emery with a grimace. “He had sweaty hands. It was gross.”

Isabella Lewis agreed with her friend Sarah.

“I had to dance with a boy,” Isabella said. “It was fun other than dancing with a boy.”

Students danced in teacher-assigned pairs.

The first-graders had been practicing their moves in class for the past two weeks.

Because teachers had paired them up, some kids were separated from the partners they wanted.

Reece Vernon explained he had wanted to dance with his friend Bailey. In fact, he said he had asked Bailey to marry him and she accepted.

“The teachers matched her up with someone else,” he said. “… We just looked at each other the whole time since we couldn’t dance together.”

First-grade teacher Bethany Hawkins said the students did enjoy the dance overall.

“They do get embarrassed at first about having to dance with people watching, but when they pull it off, they are so excited,” Hawkins said. “They put in a lot of hard work and practice to make sure they had the dance steps just right.”

After the first dance of the Tennessee Waltz, the Valentine’s Tea took on a more relaxed atmosphere. Students kicked off their fancy dancing shoes and cut loose to the “Chicken Dance” and the “Electric Side.”

For most students, the Valentine’s Tea was a fun chance to get out of the classroom and have a little fun with their friends on the dance floor.

“It was fun,” Reece said through white cupcake icing around his mouth. “It was fun to learn to dance, and the cupcakes are good.”

Sarah also had fun.

“I like to twirl,” she said. “I picked this dress because it twirls the best.”

For Isabella, the treats table was the highlight of the party.

“The cupcakes and the cookies were the best,” she said.

West Side Principal John Wright described the dance as a fun tradition for the school.

“This is about as cute as it gets,” he said, while watching the first-graders bust a move on the dance floor. “It is fun, and it teaches them good social interaction. The parents like being able to see them get dressed up and have fun dancing. They work hard, and they deserve to have some fun.”