The Dance Project, Inc. is a joint effort between students and parents to promote fun dancing, self-respect, and leadership -​
for purity, freedom, and glory. 

The Dance Project is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization, consisting of students, parents & community members who plan and participate in events in order to teach students swing dancing to popular music. What sets us apart is our outreach programming, equipping students to become leaders in their schools and communities. By upholding the highest standards of conduct, The Dance Project has established a reputation of trust and integrity among area families & educational establishments.

Dance Project dances are hosted in different schools and community facilities and provide a safe environment for teens to dance and have fun. However, most of the students don't realize the real work that's going on inside The Dance Project. While The Dance Project is a student run dance group, it is also a project. In providing a safe environment for students to dance, we also provide a contact for parents and administrators who believe that student dancing at school dances or elsewhere is in need of positive influence.

The Dance Project members reach out to schools teaching students basic swing dance steps to music they already enjoy. The style is easy to learn, energetic, and utterly enjoyable which makes it contagious! Students enthusiastically teach one another and can't wait to invite others. We are ready to provide ideas and alternatives to any parent, any administrator, and anyone who is concerned.

The Dance Project Formula for Fun Community Dances :

Student & Parent Planning, Dance Instruction, Great Variety of Clean Music, $10 Admission,
​Chaperons, Snacks & Beverages, Safety, Prayer, Community Donations

Changes in the culture around the Livingston County area:

We are supported by over 1000 individuals and families participating in our email distribution list. After more than 30 community dances and numerous community outreach programs we have now served over 4000 students in more than 80 schools and 6 counties.

Because of the prayers and support of many area individuals and families and the hard work of many dedicated volunteers in The Dance Project, Inc., positive changes are taking place in our community and at area school dances.

In Communities:
1. New swing dancing clubs for students continue to expand. The Dance Project is happy to direct students from our dances to designated clubs for continued, high-energy activities, with students who love to teach and demonstrate responsible leadership. Howell Swing Swinginfusion (Milford) are great groups for all ages. Swinginfusion locations in Brighton, Farmington and Ann Arbor are suitable for students grade 12 and up. For more  information about meeting times, visit our Event Calendar.

2. Teen Swing Dancing takes place on the first Friday of every month in Grand Blanc, at the Holy Spirit Lutheran Church.  After lessons at Davison HS in the spring of 2012, parent Michelle Traynor and her son, Sean, have been helping to organize regular swing dance events at their church for area students.

At the College level:
Students have taken their enjoyment of swing dancing from Dance Project supported clubs & dances to colleges throughout the tri-state area. Hope College, Michigan Technological University, Adrian College, Spring Arbor University, Saginaw Valley University, and Cedarville University are just some of the places where our students have carried on the mission of changing the culture by promoting positive dancing.  From swing club leadership to administrative counsel, and changes in university policy, students are influencing the groups around them in powerful ways.

At the High School level:
1. Hartland High School - For the second year in a row, Principal Ben Mainka helped put together a fundraiser dance for the school's Parent Advisory Committee. In March, 2014, The Dance Project hosted over 200 students at the school for a Blacklight Dance and raised more than $400 for the organization. There is a growing movement Hartland HS students learned how to swing dance to popular music.

2. Howell High School October, 2013 - Principal Jason Schrock recently invited The Dance Project, Inc. to teach Howell HS students swing dancing to popular music with three lessons during the week before this year's Homecoming Dance.  More than ever before, HHS students requested help during the dance.

3. Davison High School -
 September/October 2013 - The Dance Project, Inc. was invited for the third year in a row, to teach swing dancing to students after school for 2 weeks prior to their annual Homecoming Dance. In addition, Principal Matt Shanafelt scheduled a lesson before the dance for early arrivals. More than 50 students from Davison HS learned to swing dance at the lessons and continued to swing dance at the school dance.

4. West Highland Christian Academy - In the Spring of 2013, students who attend WHCA received a swing dancing  lesson after participating in a community service project with The Dance Project.  

​​5. Milford High School - Dance Project student Rachel Andrud has taken the lead and now runs an after school swing dance club for students every Thursday in the 200 Hall at 2:15 p.m. for the 2013/2014 school year.

At the Middle School level:
♦ Oak Valley Middle School​ - The Dance Project gave lessons to 8th grade students before their Spring 2013 school dance.  

♦ Davison Middle School - ​​Music and swing dance lessons to popular music will  be provided by The Dance Project at the 2014 Farewell Dance, an annual party for outgoing 8th graders.

♦ Hartland Middle School at Ore Creek - A swing dance club started in 2011 will continue on Fridays after school from 2:30 - 4 p.m. under the direction of DJ/Instructor Sam Johnson, Laurie & Mason Cothran.

Brighton Scranton Middle School - The Dance Project has hosted two separate BlackLight Dances  at the school - serving more than 600 students from 4 different countines and more than 30 different schools - public, private & home.

*Additional specification is required in that "coupling up" is not encouraged at either the intermediate or middle school levels. Swing dancing promotes exercise, and engages students in activity that interests them musically.

Thank you for your interest in what The Dance Project, Inc. is doing in Michigan. If you are interested in getting more details on how to bring positive dancing choices to your area, please email the Dance Project, Inc. at

The Dance Project was founded in 2008 as organization meant to help schools create a safe, fun and positive environment at their annual high school dances. After watching a dance at her children's own high school, Jamie Nicholson recognized a need for structure and alternatives to the typical "grinding" style of dance 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 organized a public dance 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 developed programs for at least 15 different schools to help teach students ballroom, swing and line dances that they can do at their school dances. The Dance Project has inspired more than 10 swing dancing clubs for students who now meet to dance to popular music all over lower Michigan and holds 4 larger community dances a year.

“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 address the problems of the 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.

Over the past six months, The Dance Project, Inc. has been able to become a registered non profit and take on several consultants who help with the organization of the ever-growing request for dances and programs.

A large part of The Dance Project’s mission is to make these programs easily available to students. That means keeping the admission costs down at community dances, being able to provide instruction to schools for little to no cost, etc. To do this, we need YOUR help. If you don't have the means to make a monetary contribution, please help spread the word about what we do. Join us for our next community dance, check out one of the swing dancing clubs in your area or simply look at our website to learn more about how to be involved.