Police officer coordinates dances for middle-schoolers LET'S GO TO THE HIP-HOP

September 23, 1994|By TaNoah V. Sterling | TaNoah V. Sterling,Sun Staff Writer

Pasadena middle school students can put on their dancing shoes this school year and leave one Friday a month open for the electric slide and their favorite hip-hop music.

The Friday night hop has returned for youngsters in grades six through eight with '70s disco effects and '90s music.

Eastern District county police Officer Sam Brown coordinated the first dance for Pasadena, aimed at students of George Fox Middle School but open to all middle school students.

More than 100 youngsters showed up last Friday night at Northeast High School.

"It seemed like everybody had a good time. Even the adults said they had fun," Officer Brown said.

The Pasadena dances are a spinoff of the ones held every other week in Severna Park and Broadneck.

Jim Magliano, a Severna Park resident, coordinated the first middle school dances seven years ago.

"When I looked in my community, I found there was nothing for these kids to do," Mr. Magliano said. "When I was in school, there was a reason to dance for everything. I didn't realize that had all disappeared."

All three dances use a DJ group called White Noyze, which has "a nightclub on wheels," Officer Brown said.

Spinning lights and a smoke machine transform the dance sites into a disco scene.

Officer Brown had been providing security for the Severna Park dances when he decided to strike out on his own. He considered the move for about a year before organizing the first dance two months ago.

He followed Mr. Magliano's advice, and in the end spent about $200 out of his own pocket to get the dance started.

"It's not that it's hard, it's just time-consuming. You have to get chaperons, and a DJ, and send out fliers and talk to school officials. It takes a lot of time out of your schedule," Officer Brown said.

The hardest part, he said, was getting parent volunteers -- a problem in most communities.

"The very parents of the kids who are enjoying the dance are the ones who want to drop their kids off and pick them up, but don't want to volunteer," agreed Mr. Magliano.

Today chaperons in Severna Park are abundant, and Mr. Brown hopes the parents will take the same initiative in Pasadena.

Last week's dance came off without a hitch.

"I thought it was wonderful for the kids. The only thing around this area is the roller rink and the mall," said Northeast High School PTSA President Linda Tetrault, who chaperoned the dance.

"[Officer Brown] is really interested in these kids. Living in the Eastern District, I feel very fortunate that we have an officer like that."

Students are charged a $5 admission, and Officer Brown said any profit from the dances will be used to buy televisions, VCRs and other materials for the school.

"The more kids that come, the more the schools get," he said. The next dances are scheduled for Oct. 21, Nov. 4 and Dec. 2.

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