WASHINGTON (FOX 5 DC) - This league of pint-sized dancers will salsa their way right into your heart!
Edwin Sorto has been teaching at KIPP DC Promise Academy, a predominantly African-American charter school in Southeast D.C., since 2014. By integrating his cultural roots and professional background, Sorto has been able to seamlessly weave in Spanish language and Latin dance lessons into his kindergartners' curriculum-- did we mention he's also a P.E. and art teacher?!
He teaches all four of the kindergarten classes, ranging between 25 to 30 students per group. And while some moves are more challenging than others, the 5-year-olds are able to quickly learn various dance routines that range from salsa, merengue, bachata, mambo, and chacha-- rivaling the average adults' dance skills.
Dance comes natural to the Salvadorian instructor because growing up he enjoyed learning folkloric dances, break-dancing with friends, or perfecting and competing in partner dances as an adult
"I'm fortunate that I have this talent and skill to share with my students." Sorto said, "They're turning into really lovely dancers but more importantly, they're learning grit, perseverance, teamwork, social skills, and incorporating joy into every school day."
Sorto's incredible journey started through a volunteer program at KIPP D.C., he quickly discovered his passion for teaching. Even though he has an undergraduate degree in construction management, the school offers a program that trains new educators called the Capital Teaching Residency.
"The program allowed me to train under a mentor teacher for a year before having my own classroom. Now I'm working on my Master's in Teaching," Sorto told FOX 5.
Through his teachings, Sorto shows his students the importance of hard work and how carrying a great attitude aids in their ultimate success.
But the dancing goes beyond the classroom as Sorto leads a performance team. This year their focus is on exhibition dancing and the tiny stars have been invited to dance in Chicago, Pittsburgh, Houston, and San Juan.
The school is working to raise money to cover travel expenses, people can donate directly on the school's website.