Family and friends crowded into the TECO Theater at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts in Tampa on Wednesday for a music performance by the third through fifth-grade students of Sullivan Elementary School. The boys and girls performed several songs from decades past starting with the 1950s up to present time. Sets featured original choreography taught by instructor, Deisha King and group renditions of songs like, “What a Wonderful World” and “We are the World" led by music teacher, Jesse Guajardo.

The recital is a culmination of 35 weeks of instruction provided by the Patel Conservatory at no cost to the families, many of which reside at Metropolitan Ministries. This partnership between the Straz Center’s Arts Education Community Partnership Program and Sullivan Elementary provides the students with weekly instruction by experienced dance teachers, plus costumes and ballet shoes.

“I like dancing,” said 10-year-old Jose Valiente fresh off showing-off moves like the “Running Man” and the “dab."

The performance ended with hearty applause and a standing ovation from a packed audience while the dancers bowed and waved. Soon after the lights came on and family members and friends rushed the stage to offer congratulations and snap photos. Big smiles and heads held high, some holding flowers, they posed.



Several girls group together during a 1950s-themed dance performance.
Several girls group together during a 1950s-themed dance performance.

The Straz Center for the Performing Arts provides costumes and ballet shoes for all the student dancers.
The Straz Center for the Performing Arts provides costumes and ballet shoes for all the student dancers.
The kids dance to original choreography taught to them by Patel Conservatory instructors.
The kids dance to original choreography taught to them by Patel Conservatory instructors.
Led by music teacher, Jesse Guajardo the students sang in a choir throughout several sets.
Led by music teacher, Jesse Guajardo the students sang in a choir throughout several sets.
Fifth-grade students danced along to popular 1990s music wearing basketball jerseys.
Fifth-grade students danced along to popular 1990s music wearing basketball jerseys.
Jose Valiente, 10, (center) dances with schoolmates during a 1990s-themed performance of a show called
Jose Valiente, 10, (center) dances with schoolmates during a 1990s-themed performance of a show called "Dancing through the decades."
Jada Polite, 10, (center) dances with schoolmates during a 1990s-themed performance of a show called
Jada Polite, 10, (center) dances with schoolmates during a 1990s-themed performance of a show called "Dancing through the decades."
Students sing
Students sing "We are the World" in the final part of the event.
Students jump to the music in the last dance number of the event.
Students jump to the music in the last dance number of the event.
After the show the students smile and wave at the audience.
After the show the students smile and wave at the audience.