Danceworks Mad Hot Rhythm


Striking a pose at the 2022 Mad Hot Rhythm Competition.

Danceworks Mad Hot Rhythm (formerly Mad Hot Ballroom and Tap) is an innovative educational dance program, providing arts and physical education to youth in Milwaukee-area schools. Over the last 15 years, Danceworks Mad Hot has touched the lives of more than 33,600 students in grades 4-6 throughout Southeastern Wisconsin.


Mad Hot Rhythm’s Primary Goals:

  • To improve students’ self-confidence.
  • To improve students’ respect for self and others.
  • To improve students’ attitudes toward physical activity.


How the Program Works:

Danceworks Mad Hot Rhythm runs November-April. Participating schools select one or more 5th or 6th grade classrooms to participate in Mad Hot. Danceworks teaching artists provide two weekly one-hour dance classes for 18 weeks – 36 total hours of dance instruction. Each year the program culminates with a city-wide competition for all participants, as well as culminating performances in the schools. The Competition is free and open to the public! Families incur no cost for this program.


Check out the Mad Hot Rhythm 2020-21 Program Report


2022-23 Programming Supporters

Danceworks Mad Hot Rhythm 2022-23 Programming is supported by:

(Donors $1,000 & up)

  • Bader Philanthropies
  • United Performing Arts Fund
  • Brewers Community Foundation
  • We Energies Foundation
  • Herzfeld Foundation
  • Forest County Potawatomi Foundation
  • STRATTEC Security Corporation
  • City of Milwaukee Arts Board
  • Wisconsin Arts Board
  • Julia Uihlein
  • Bob Balderson
  • Amy & Dennis Connolly
  • Martin Family Foundation


Participating Schools

The 2022-23 Danceworks Mad Hot Rhythm Program is currently taking place in the following Milwaukee-area schools:

Messmer St. Mary
St. Martini
Westside Academy 1*
Pilgirm Lutheran
Elm Creative
French Immersion*
Auer Avenue*
Renaissance Villa
Renaissance Taylor
Craig Montessori
Eighty-First Street
Cross Trainers Academy
Lincoln Middle School
Brown Street Academy
Greenfield Bilingual

*Indicates that this school has two or more classrooms participating in the Mad Hot Rhythm Program. 

Mad Hot Rhythm Competition Date & Winners

The 2022-23 Mad Hot Rhythm Competition was an incredible annual celebration that showed off the hard work of 4th – 6th grade students from Milwaukee area schools as they competed in three dance styles: Bhangra/Hip-Hop Fusion, Tap and Paso Doble. 


Check back soon for a date to the 2023-24 Mad Hot Rhythm Competition!

Congratulations to our winners and to every student who participated in 2023 Danceworks Mad Hot Rhythm Competition on April 17, 2023:

First Place – MacDowell Montessori
Second Place – Pilgrim
Third Place – Lincoln Avenue

Hip Hop/Bhangra Fusion:
First Place – MacDowell Montessori
Second Place – Renaissance Taylor
Third Place – Renaissance Villa

Paso Doble:
First Place – Story Elementary School
Second Place – Renaissance Villa
Third Place – Messmer Saint Mary

Teamwork Award– Parkside, Ms. Skoropat’s class
This class demonstrated exemplary sportsmanship through respect, encouragement, group problem solving, good communication, equal participation from all, offering support & having fun.

Most Improved Classroom Award– Westside, Ms. Cardwell’s class
This class demonstrated notable growth in areas of: dance technique, performance skills, confidence and respect.

Dancing With The Stars– MacDowell, Ms. Kiki

Couldn’t make it to the competition?

No worries! The competition can be streamed RIGHT NOW! Watch it from the comfort of your own home with the whole family! Feel free to drop a comment to cheer on your school or dancer. 

Watch the 2023 competition now!

Celebrating 18 years of Mad Hot in 2023-24!

Trowbridge School Representatives at the Mad Hot Rhythm 2022 Competition.

We are celebrating 18 years of Mad Hot in 2023-24!

18 years ago we started Mad Hot in just 3 schools. The program quickly spread, and this year the program is in 40 classrooms in 32 schools! While we weren’t able to serve quite as many schools in the 2021 year due to the pandemic, the program is thriving and we have a great bunch of dancers ready to show off their new skills! The mission and motivation of Mad Hot have always centered around the kids, and it remains the same after 17 years. Mad Hot Rhythm, formerly Mad Hot Ballroom and Tap, will culminate in a Competition at the Panther Arena in mid- April 2022.


We hope you can join us as we celebrate 18 years of Mad Hot dancing!

Danceworks Mad Hot in the Media

Danceworks Mad Hot in the Media

MHR Staff Portal

Mad Hot Rhythm Teaching Artists should utilize this page for all information and documents related to their schools.


Head to MHR Staff Portal

Questions about Danceworks Mad Hot Rhythm? Contact Jessica Fastabend, Community Programs Manager, at 414.277.8480, or via email.