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


Competition Date


  • Starts at 10am; Awards at 12:30pm
  • Free and open to the public
  • @ UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena

Can’t make it? The entire competition will be LIVE STREAMED on Danceworks Facebook Page. Tune in and comment to cheer on your school!

Over 1,200 fourth, fifth and sixth grade students in 48 South Eastern Wisconsin classrooms from 38 schools will show off their rhythmic dancing skills at the Danceworks Mad Hot Rhythm Competition on Thursday, April 25th! The public is invited to the UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena (400 W. Kilbourn Ave. in Milwaukee) beginning at 10:00am to cheer on students as they compete in Afro Fusion, Swing Tap and Samba styles of dance as part of the Danceworks Mad Hot Rhythm program.

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 48 classrooms in 38 schools! 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 18 years. Mad Hot Rhythm, formerly Mad Hot Ballroom and Tap, will culminate in a Competition at the UW Panther Arena on April 25, 2024 starting at 10am.


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


Programming Supporters

Danceworks Mad Hot Rhythm 2023-24 Programming is supported by:

  • Bader Philanthropies
  • UPAF
  • Forest County Potawatomi Foundation
  • Milwaukee Arts Board
  • Wisconsin Arts Board
  • We Energies Foundation
  • Julia Uihlein
  • Geri G. Olson
  • Kristine Szatmary
  • Carol and Jim Ross
  • Alison Griffin
  • Patricia Kiefer
  • Anonymous Donors
  • Martin Family Foundation

Participating Schools

The 2023-24 Danceworks Mad Hot Rhythm Program is currently taking place in the following Milwaukee-area schools:

Carter’s Christian
Catholic East
Craig Montessori
Cross Trainers Academy
Curtin Leadership Academy*
Elm Creative
Lincoln Middle School
Maryland Avenue Montessori*
MCP North
Milwaukee French Immersion*
Mount Calvary
Pilgrim Lutheran*
Renaissance Taylor
Renaissance Villa
St. Peter Immanuel
St. Martini

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

2022-23 Winners

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!

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.