VIP Date Night 2011

The ever popular VIP Date Night helped us close out the 2011 year for our 6th grade dance program, The Joe Cornell “Experience”.  With nearly 300 children enrolled in our program each season, our special event nights always prove to be a ton of fun for the students.  But the VIP Date Night, where the students invite a Very Important (adult) Person in their lives is incredibly gratifying for the somewhat “older” generation, as well.

For some adults in attendance as dates, it was their first time on the scene.  For others, the Joe Cornell VIP Date Night is a bit of a tradition in their family.  One excited mom was quoted as gushing, “With two older daughters who have already been through the Joe Cornell program and loved it, I’ve been waiting for four years until I could come to the Date Night with my son!”

Photo souvenirs of all couples were provided by Steve Kaufman Photography (, and smiles and music were provided by Joe Cornell Entertainment, of course.  Here are a few photos of the evening, but there are a ton more on our Facebook page.  Click your Date Night date to see more pictures in a Facebook Album (and be sure to tag yourself, too!)

Friday at Cranbrook

Thursday at Beth Ahm

Tuesday at Temple Israel

The Joe Cornell Circle of Life

I knew it was coming.

My friends’ kids are taking Joe Cornell, the same friends I took Joe Cornell with in the … (ahem) 1980s.  How could a generation have grown up so fast?

Alan Taylor, Stacy Weissberg Fealk, and Jennifer Golding Silverman among others.  All the “kids” I two-stepped and “rock and rolled” with several decades ago now have tweens in my dance program.

In 1982, Stacy was my dance partner for the spring ball.  We don’t have a spring ball any longer because parents have grown concerned about the competitive air we thrived on.  So we’ve made our program more inclusive; everyone has something to gain from dancing with Joe Cornell.

Back then, Rob Fink and Jennifer Golding took first place in the spring ball, while Stacy and I came in a close second.  I know Rob hasn’t kept up his dancing.
It’s that time in life when we step to the side and let our children take center stage.  Standing in front of a group of great kids – me as their teacher, them in the awkward excitement of middle school, their whole lives stretching out in front of them – I am struck by how familiar we all are.

I was them.  They’ll be me.  They are kids of people I know well, some resembling their parents.  I own a business and help kids gain social confidence and poise.  Who knows how much of an impact these kids will make in the future…on my kids…on  my grandchildren.
Yes, it’s strange that I could be old enough to be teaching the children of my childhood friends.  That’s the cycle of life.  What goes around comes around.  And I’m just glad that Joe Cornell is going stronger than ever so that kids today can benefit from the fun and excitement that we experienced decades ago on the dance floor, with Joe Cornell.

What did you do this summer?

We are so excited to officially kick off the 2011 – 2012 Joe Cornell Entertainment season this weekend!

The Tri Community Coalition’s Dream Cruise Dance Party on the street in Berkley, marks our yearly kickoff.  For nearly 10 years (has it really been that long?) the great people of the Coalition (Berkley, Huntington Woods, Oak Park) have invited us to entertain the area’s children – furthering their mission to keep kids away from drugs and alcohol.  When you hear the music and feel the excitement – peek over to witness emcee Josh George, DJ Ben Heavenrich, and new entertainer Blake Spencer as they work the crowd!

Speaking of new entertainers, we are ready to unleash our latest, greatest crop of incredible dancers / “party perkers” onto the mitzvah circuit.  Before the kickoff of each new year, Joe Cornell Entertainment hosts auditions to fill its ranks.  Working side by side with our veteran performers, our 5 new dancers will be seeing you soon!  They are…..Nikki, Nia, Ce-Ce, Lawrence, and Robert.

Our 6th Grade Dance Program (The Joe Cornell “Experience”) commences mid September.  While we are past capacity (yep, we even had to open a new class) we could ALWAYS you a few extra boys here and there.  If you know a 6th grade boy who isn’t signed up yet, send them our way….many girls on our wait lists will thank you.  Classes and dates are viewable on our online class schedule at:

Which brings us to current 5th graders.  Mark your calendars now, and watch for information soon, about Joe Cornell’s Annual 5th Grade Dance Party. Tuesday, November 22nd at the West Bloomfield JCC from 7:00 – 8:15 PM.  Its free, its fun, and over 200 area children will join together for a night of organized dancing and entertainment.


And Finally….what new season could officially “kick off” without the annual tradition of the “Joe Cornell Event Planning Expo”.  Nine years running, the last 3 of which have seen the benefits of sponsorship support from our friends at the Detroit Jewish News (

The Wedding Marketplace

This year, we’ve expanded our show to truly reach the area’s Brides to be.  The Wedding Marketplace will run in tandem with the Expo in the the JCC’s Janice Charach Art Gallery and will feature exhibitors specific to the wedding industry.  We are thrilled to announce that ( has chosen to partner with us as a sponsor for this show.  They will be on hand – in person – helping engaged couples post their wedding announcements to their site!

Finally, watch for the 2nd edition of Plan It! Magazine which is in the final design/layout stages for a September release.  Online ( and in print, the magazine is a free publication that serves as a content rich resource guide for area families planning social events.  New this issue, in connection with The Wedding Marketplace and our new entertainment division Joe Cornell Weddings (, we’ll feature a full wedding section with newlywed profiles, bridal party gift ideas, planning tips, and more.

Wow…what did you do all summer?  🙂

Have a great year everyone, we look forward to seeing you soon!


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There but for the grace of g-d go I

At Joe Cornell, we have been fortunate to have been embraced and supported by the community we have served for more than 50 years.  Teaching kids “how to be cool” while also empowering them with social etiquette through dance has been the cornerstone of our business since 1957.  This season, we challenged ourselves and our students with a new lesson.  A lesson on life and social responsibility.

There but for the grace of G-d go I.

With more than 300 6th grade students in our 13 week dance class program, we wanted to create an initiative – off the dance floor  – to engage our students in working together toward a common goal and instilling in them the qualities of leaders by helping a charitable organization.  The kids would choose the benefactor – democratically, as a group – and they would also set the goals for the effort.  Their input would shape the planning, the dedication would rest on their shoulders, and the lessons learned would be personal.

We named the volunteer group “Joe’s Crew,” and figured we’d be lucky if we found 10 or 12 interested students this first time around.  I mean, kids today are so busy!  They’re already overwhelmed with extracurricular programming (and their parents are, too).  Adding a volunteer group – with monthly meetings and tasks – we didn’t know if it would work with everyone’s schedule – or anyone’s.

52.  That was how many kids volunteered to take part.  We were excited to get started.

At their first meeting (bowling and pizza!) Joe’s Crew participants chose a charity to benefit from their efforts.  The parameters were simple:  Keep it local so they could witness the impact, keep it youth oriented so they could relate.  Joe’s Crew members presented charities to the others in the group with which they had knowledge or experience, and our staff made presentations, as well.  Some of the choices:  Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation; JARC; Yad Ezra; Gleaners; The Bear Hug Foundation, The Friendship Circle…all great organizations doing a world of good.

The kids overwhelmingly voted to support Michigan-based Kids Kicking Cancer, and they’d do it through a dance-a-thon – a perfect show of all they’d learned in Joe Cornell.

There but for the grace of G-d go I.

In subsequent meetings, the kids stayed focused and their enthusiasm grew. They met local celebrity, Lila Lazarus, president of KKC’s national board of directors.   They created a Joe’s Crew Facebook page to link participants together for updates and strategizing.  They set a pledge goal of $3500.

Of course, the parents of these team members played a pivotal role in the process!  Driving, rearranging schedules, in some cases calling in favors for pledge donations, and in general, showing their support.  The seeds of social responsibility are planted at home.

When the big night arrived – January 18th – the turnout for the dance-a-thon at Orchard Mall in West Bloomfield was great – 200 people gathered to watch these energetic kids dance for an hour straight.  Setting the tone, Kids Kicking Cancer kids kicked off the night with a martial arts and meditation presentation and Rabbi Elimelech Goldberg (“Rabbi G”) spoke about how Kids Kicking Cancer helps children face life’s scariest challenges.

Until that moment, the Joe’s Crew kids had been raising funds for “a good cause”.  Finally, they met the kids they were helping – and made a personal connection – everything changed.

Our students enjoyed dancing with their students.

There but for the grace of G-d go I.

Altogether, Joe’s Crew participants raised $5100!  They left feeling proud.  Excited.  Amazed.  Inspired.  They touched lives, and their lives were touched.  Forever.

Joe’s Crew member Rachel Wasserman, 12, summed up her experience:  “When a group of kids gets together, they can make a big imprint on the world.  Joe’s Crew is doing that!”

OMG…its time for Joe Cornell, already?

It’s that time of year, again.  The time when parents of 5th graders are asked to sign their child up for next year’s “6th Grade Dance Program”.

It seems so early, but yes, classes fill up quickly and spaces are limited.

It’s also the time of year when some parents are asked to make a choice.  Will it be Joe Cornell, with years of experience helping children make the transition into young adulthood, or the other program which provides a weekly party atmosphere in an effort to book more parties?

Certainly, those who are reading this blog post who have already had children through our program can attest to the positive influence the Joe Cornell “Experience” has had in their family.  We recognize the impact our program has on children, and don’t take our responsibility lightly.

At Joe Cornell, we teach kindness, manners, etiquette, self-confidence – all masked in the fun of dancing!  Embedded in each one hour weekly lesson are subtle yet crucial messages about what it really means to be cool, and how to confidently interact with the opposite sex in all social situations.

Ask around, while the two programs cater to the same children, they are very different.

Here’s a recent quote from a Joe Cornell student’s mom after observing a class in progress…

“…Last night’s class was such a great thing!  What a fantastic throwback!  What a lovely, refreshing and wholesome approach.  I am so glad my daughter is in the class!  I just wanted to thank you for keeping the kids’ first coed dancing experience classic and timeless.  You accomplished this with great manners mixed with reaching out to the kids with humor, games, and a sincere caring for the pre-teens’ sensitive feelings.  Great job!”

Laura R, Birmingham mom

Research shows that children who are taught etiquette and social graces are actually learning kindness and responsibility, which help them stand out in an increasingly rude and tumultuous world.

I invite you to visit our website at to learn more about our one of a kind program.  Registration forms may be downloaded from here, as well.