Joyce Stoughton-Kim was born and raised on Detroit’s west side. In the 1970’s, Joyce was among the first generation of Detroit school children bused around the city of Detroit and at that time Joyce noticed that the school’s arts and sports programs were being cut drastically. By the time Joyce was in middle school there was only one art teacher to provide an art experience for nearly a thousand middle schoolers. After graduating high school Joyce was trained and hired by a local ballroom and Latin dance studio and from that point on her career in dance took off.
It has been almost 30 years since Joyce first started teaching and she credits much of her success in dance to her first dance teacher Roberta Hansen who left her comfortable life in Birmingham, Michigan each evening in the 1970’s to teach Detroit children at a local community center on Detroit’s west side. It did not matter to Mrs. Hansen if the children could pay or not; Mrs. Hansen could often be heard saying, “we just need to keep the young children dancing.” Joyce believes that Mrs. Hansen understood the connection between the arts and keeping children busy and focused and by doing that then that would help keep them out of trouble.
In 2014, inspired by a fifth grade boy at her children’s elementary school in St. Louis, Missouri, Joyce decided to open the Center for Social Dance to help fund an outreach program called the Social Dance Project. The Social Dance Project reaches out to school age children in at risk school districts at no cost to the schools or school districts, the families, or the community.
The Center for Social Dance also offers on-site ballroom, Latin, and swing dance classes to school age children who wish to learn social dance and of course the Center has an adult ballroom program. At the Center, all the classic dances can be learned from the beautiful waltz, to the hottest Latin dances, to one of many swing dance styles danced today. Swing, a true American creation will be the first dance featured in the Centers Educational Series where dance and history is shared and on Thursday, October 27, 2016 the Queen of Swing herself, Norma Miller, age 97, will visit a local school during the day and the Center later that evening to share her story and how swing dance brought cultures together. To learn more about Norma Miller, and the legendary swing group, Whiteys Lindy Hoppers, go to you tube and type in Norma Miller, Frankie Manning, and Whitey’s Lindy Hoppers.
During the week of August 22, 2016 the Center will offer classes to the community and later will host a Grand Opening ballroom dance party on Saturday September 10th,. Both the classes held the week of August 22nd through August 26th 2016 and the September 10th 2016 ballroom dance party are fundraising events for the Social Dance Project. If dancers choose to pay a class fee, it can be dropped in the box at the front desk in any amount. Regular classes begin Tuesday, September 6, 2016.