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Junior High School 189 students bringing ballroom dancing back

Ballroom dancing isn't just a genteel pursuit reserved for seniors.

A group of students at Junior High School 189 in Flushing is bringing a youthful energy to the endeavor.

More than a dozen students recently put on a ballroom spectacular for 100 people at Flushing Town Hall.

The students endured two months of rigorous training for the show, which was put on with funding from the City Department of Youth and Community Development and City Councilman John Liu (D-Flushing).

"We want to build social skills and teach them about other kinds of dancing," said Betty Smith, director of education at Flushing Town Hall. "Some of them are in their second year. They liked it so much, they came back."

As part of their training, the students were taken to see a big band perform at Queens College. The classes are open to the students from JHS 189 and require a twice-a-week commitment.

This is the third year of classes, which are part of the Cultural After School Adventure program. Organizers hope to have another show next spring.

For many students, it was their first exposure to ballroom dancing. The boys learned to channel their inner Fred Astaire while the girls did their best Ginger Rogers imitations.

"It's a very nurturing atmosphere," said April Armstrong, an after-school programs coordinator. "This was a great group of kids."