Fifth-grade students of the Dancing Classrooms of the V.I. program at Lew Muckle Elementary School perform for the program’s closeout ceremony.

Before I explain my perspective, let me be clear: This is not only about dance, nor is it a plea to suggest that everyone ought to become trained dancers. It is, however, about the lessons that dance can teach us when we use it as a vehicle to transport messages of discipline, respect, consent and healthy boundaries. These are qualities essential to ending violence of all forms, but particularly domestic violence and sexual assault.

On Dec. 12, I took the day off to attend the Dancing Classrooms of the V.I. (DCVI) closeout ceremonies at the Lew Muckle Elementary School and Pearl B. Larsen Elementary School on St. Croix. What I soon realized, as I observed our fifth graders engage with each other, is that I didn’t need to take a day off at all, because what I saw in their dance are the violence-prevention elements I promote daily as the executive director of the V.I. Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Council (DVSAC).