BLUE RIDGE-OAKLAND: Derby Ridge Elementary students celebrate at Street Dance

Friday, September 23, 2011 | 3:59 p.m. CDT; updated 4:12 p.m. CDT, Friday, September 23, 2011
Fifth-grader Paul Hackney, 10, does the robot at Derby Ridge Elementary School's "Street Dance," a dance party for students and faculty hosted by Derby Ridge's Family School Partnership after an academic open house on Thursday evening.

COLUMBIA — Students at Derby Ridge Elementary School moved and grooved Thursday night at the school's annual Street Dance and open house.

Derby Ridge principal Jeri Petre said the open house is a chance for parents to visit their child's classroom and familiarize themselves with the school and the curriculum. During the events, parents were able to meet teachers, and students had the opportunity to show off the artwork they've been working on.

"It's a good community builder and it's a lot of fun for the kids," said kindergarten teacher Marilee Cameron.

Rachelle Ramirez, whose daughter Leila is a kindergartener at the school, said the event was an opportunity to meet other parents and children, too.

"Plus, it's Leila's first dance," she said.

After the open house, students flocked outside to jump and jive to songs like Lady Gaga's "Born This Way" and Foster the People's "Pumped Up Kicks."

Fourth grader Ahdasee Lee-Williams is a veteran street dancer — this was her third year attending the event.

"But this year's better because there's better music," she said.

Mele Beralta agreed that this year's event outshined those in the past.

"Last year it rained and the dance was inside," said Beralta, whose daughter is in kindergarten at Derby Ridge. "It was too crowded."

Kids who didn't want to dance could join classmates on the playground or participate in one of the many sports being played, including kickball, Frisbee and tag.

Inside the school, attendees could choose from a selection of Dragon apparel, including hoodies and T-shirts available in a rainbow of colors. The Family School Partnership sold hotdogs and potato chips, and outside, an ice cream truck sold SpongeBob SquarePants popsicles, ice cream cones and slushies that left consumers' tongues a bright green.

As the dance drew to a close, students, teachers and parents alike stormed the dance floor for a rendition of the Cha Cha Slide.

"It’s pretty exciting," Petre said. "There’s been a lot of families out tonight."

Although Petre is new to Derby Ridge Elementary School, she says this is one tradition the school has carved in stone.

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