Jamie Nicholson

Since 2008, Jamie Nicholson has propelled The Dance Project forward, educating students K-12 about positive choices for social dancing. Jamie continues to focus on the mission, enlisting students and teachers in programming to educate more students about the fun and value of swing dancing to popular music. Contact her on Facebook or by email at jnicholson.danceprojectmi@gmail.com. Fun Fact: Jamie spent 25 years as a high school math teacher!

The Dance Project was founded in order to help schools create a safe, fun and positive environment at their dances. After watching a dance at her children's own high school, Jamie Nicholson recognized a need for structure and alternatives to the student dancing that takes place at these events. Jamie felt that the large groups of students "grinding" on the floors of gymnasiums and cafeterias wasn't as unavoidable as administrators and faculty seemed to think. She proposed a program to teach teens how to swing dance to popular music through The Dance Project. With help from parents and students in the community, Jamie began to organize public dances for teens where they could dance to their favorite songs, learn steps, turns and dips, and practice the polite way to ask a partner to dance.

Since 2008, The Dance Project has served in 15 different schools, teaching students swing dancing and encouraging them to show others at their school dances. The Dance Project has fostered the growth of more than 15 swing dancing clubs for students who now meet weekly to dance to popular music all over lower Michigan. Hosting 4 community dances a year, The Dance Project events have attracted students from more than 75 different public, private and home schools in 6 different counties.

“One thing I like about [The] Dance Project is that it’s an inclusive outlet. It’s a wholesome physical outlet that is good for the youth but it’s also a socially inclusive environment,” says Ellen Koehler in a quote in an article from Spinal Column, March of 2013. “The tone is set so that the self respect is encouraged, its almost a premise of the whole environment, and it’s really impacting kids' lives.”

The Dance Project has grown from a program targeted specifically to offer solutions to the problems of unstructured “dancing” within local high schools to an organization dedicated to teaching students of all ages many different styles of dancing all over lower Michigan and beyond.

The Dance Project, Inc. has had an increased demand for lessons, dances, performances and customized educational programs. We strive to make these programs easily available to students. That means keeping the admission costs down at community dances, and being able to provide instruction to schools at affordable rates. Because of the demand and the strong community support we are experiencing, it is clear that our programming is effective and far-reaching. Organic growth is evident, with more than 8,000 students impacted since 2008. Your financial support and promotion of our success is critical. Get involved! Make a donation today, tell your friends and join us for our next community dance! Check out one of the swing dancing clubs in your area and look at our website to see all of the ways you can be involved in this powerful organization.