Schools — February 10, 2014 at 4:42 pm

February 2014 D.C. After School Latin Dance Program Launch


CONTACT: Michelle Hoffman

January 30, 2014

(202) 533-1866

Ricardo Loaiza

(301) 538-8824


D.C. high school students dance to a Latin Beat

D.C. After School Latin Dance Program, sponsored by WPAS & The After School Dance Fund, launches in February 2014


Washington, D.C. – The After School Dance Fund and WPAS are pleased to announce the expansion of the D.C. After School Latin Dance Program, a jointly sponsored after school program for D.C. High School students. The Program originated as a pilot in the spring of 2012 led by the After School Dance Fund and implemented in two D.C. schools: Wilson High School and Next Step Public Charter School.

With the new WPAS partnership, the program is expanding to six D.C. schools: Columbia Heights Education Campus (CHEC), Cardozo High School, E.L. Haynes Public Charter School, Roosevelt High School, Next Step Public Charter School, and Wilson High School. “The D.C. After School Latin Dance Program is a natural expansion of WPAS’s education programs and will allow students to experience the arts in authentic and meaningful ways. Each dancer learns about Latin culture, teamwork, and discipline from talented mentors and teachers in a supportive setting while experiencing the thrill of learning exciting choreography set to vibrant Latin music,” says WPAS Director of Education Michelle Hoffman.

The D.C. After School Latin Dance Program encompasses the essence of Latin street dance. Students learn social dances like salsa, merengue, cha-cha, and bachata to reinforce creativity, team work, commitment, and cultural awareness. The Program goal is to develop youth leadership and promote wellness, heritage and unity though Latin dance education. The Program provides each student with the opportunity to develop qualities which will help them to become a more confident person, help them to excel in academics and pave their way to higher education so that they may give back to their communities.

Students in the program are required to meet program standards,, which include maintaining a minimum grade point average, in order to compete. Alumni of the Program are invited to participate in a professional development training course in order to return to the Program as a group leader/mentor.

The program culminates in a city-wide dance competition that will take place in June 2014 (date and location TBA).

About The After School Dance Fund

The After School Dance Fund (ASDF) was founded in 2010 by Ricardo Loaiza, a local Latin Dance Instructor, who for 12 years volunteered with the MCPS Afterschool Latin Dance Program. ASDF was formed to facilitate to program’s culminating event, the Annual Montgomery County Public School (MCPS) Latin Dance Competition at the Music Center at Strathmore in North Bethesda, Maryland.  ASDF’s mission and goal is to develop an ongoing artistic and technical support mechanism for all existing  High Schools Latin Dance Clubs, and to assist others wanting to establish a new club to do so.These programs promote cross cultural awareness; bridging the gap between communities, strengthening family values and empower students of all backgrounds, to share their heritage and culture which allows them to communicate better in school and at home, and continue their personal and educational growth in order to become healthy and positive members of our global society.  For more information visit

About WPAS

Since 1965, Washington Performing Arts Society has had a foundational role in the arts in our nation’s capital, creating profound opportunities that connect community and artists, in both education and performance. Through live events in 11 venues that criss-cross the D.C. metropolitan area, the careers of emerging artists are launched and nurtured, and established artists return to develop closer relationships with WPAS
audiences and creative partners.

As one of the leading presenters in the nation, Washington Performing Arts Society embraces a broad spectrum of the performing arts, including classical music, jazz, gospel, contemporary dance and music, international music and art forms, and new work.  Dynamic education programs in the public schools and beyond are hallmarks of WPAS, as are WPAS’s Embassy Adoption Program and two resident gospel choirs.

In the 2012–13 season, WPAS was twice honored for its work at the intersection of arts presenting and education: by President Barack Obama with a National Medal of Arts (becoming only the fourth D.C.-based arts group and the first arts presenter of its kind to be so honored), and the Mayor’s Arts Award for Excellence in Service to the Arts. For more information visit