PLEASANTON (CBS SF) – Shoes are optional at Pleasanton’s Thomas Hart Middle School where some 300 plus students are getting a crash course in Swing Dancing.

175 couples of 7th and 8th graders are rocking the day away in their physical education classes. Over three weeks in October, the group is whittled down to the top dancing pair.

The swing dancing course been a Hart school tradition now for a dozen years. According to Hart PE teachers it’s a workout and self-esteem booster. A win-win for everyone.

PE coach and dance instructor Tim Santich said the kids just love it. “It’s incredible how skilled these kids become, and they become very graceful too,” said Santich. “It’s just phenomenal how quickly these kids pick it up.”

For some it’s a huge adrenaline rush, and it’s got a language all its own … like the airplane, the she-he turn, the cuddle and the dish-rag!

The three week dance-off has become a big hit for parents, too. Some come back even if their kids have already graduated.

And there’s an added bonus for the kids. It’s a nice ice-breaker to meet the girls and guys!

The best thing yet there are no stereotypes. Everyone participates. Fellow PE coach and dance teacher Dan Fenton said even the athletes think it cool! ‘We have always had that one leader kid or athletic kid that want to be in it,” said Fenton. “So, all the other kids think it must be OK to do that.”

And that’s why Thomas Hart Middle School in Pleasanton is this week’s Cool School!


(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)



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