Castle Senior Waltzes Through Classes

Castle High School’s Isaac Johnson is using his senior project to spread the art of the Viennese waltz, his favorite style of ballroom dancing, to students in the community.

He leads ballroom dancing classes from 2:45 to 3:45 p.m. each Wednesday through the end of the quarter in Castle’s Room 8. There is no registration required.

“Just show up,” Johnson urged.

The first class met Jan. 25, and 23 Castle students showed up, as well as one student from Hakipuu Learning Academy.

“I would like to have a lot of people show up, but I’m not sure I could really teach a large class size,” Johnson admits.

However, Castle faculty member Karen Kimura is confident in Johnson’s teaching abilities.

“We’re hoping more kids are going to come,” she said. “He’s done a great job teaching.”

For senior class projects, students must involve something that is hard or different, something more than what they have done before. Johnson did his senior project paper on how ballroom dancing can impact teen behavior and attitude.

“This needs to become more available and mainstream,” Kimura said.

Johnson’s paper also highlights the partner dance, which is based on mutual trust.

“That’s different than the dancing that happens on the dance floor at prom,” Kimura explained.

Johnson started dancing during his freshman year and has taken dance as an elective this year. He also is enrolled in ballroom dance classes with the Hawaii Ballroom Dance Association as part of his mentorship program.

“The first day I went, I didn’t feel out of place at all, even though no one was really in my generation. I felt really welcome,” Johnson said.

He explained there are already dance classes offered at Castle such as hip-hop and jazz.

“But the students, they don’t really have as many opportunities to take ballroom dancing,” Johnson said. “It’s not very common or well-known, and I want to spread ballroom dancing.”