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So, You Think You Can Fundraise? DPWH is participating in Giving Tuesday, Won’t You Please Help?

Heather Godfrey

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- By Liz Berntson

Here at DPWH, this Thanksgiving week, we want you to know that we are grateful to be part of this community and to dance. We are indebted for the opportunity to give adults and children the chance to learn, create and flourish through the art of dance; we are thankful to be part of this neighborhood.


And this is a gratitude we at DPWH all feel - not just this week, but 365 days of the year.


But since thanks and giving are on are collective minds especially so this week…here’s some food for thought:


Today is Black Friday and you may be thinking of all the money you’re going to spend this holiday season. As such, we invite you to think about a way to spend that will give instead - to take part in Giving Tuesday and help us raise money that will in turn help us help others.


Dance Project of Washington Heights is participating in Giving Tuesday and we hope – and need - you to join us!


Our goal in a nutshell is to raise $20,000 and we need 40 people to help.


Not sure exactly what we mean or what to do? No problem – read on…

Do you have a story about why DPWH is important to you, your child, or your community? Can you tell that story to your friends and family and ask them to support the program? We want 40 of you to do that - to help us reach our Giving Tuesday goal of $20,000. And it's going to be fun!  We're putting together teams of fundraisers for a good old-fashioned competition. Which team can raise the most money? Who will be the first to reach the $1000 mark? And there's a party! Whoever takes part in our fundraising project is invited to celebrate at Le Cheile, located at 839 W 181st St, New York, NY 10033, in Washington Heights any time between the hours of 11AM – 10 PM on Tuesday, November 28th.

If you can't wait to get started, go ahead and set up your fundraising page on your own by following this link It’s also a place to take a look at, get inspired by and learn about those who are participating, i.e. your competition and your community!

The money we raise will help us pay for our programming. It means making sure that we can provide dance education to all of our students regardless of their income level, cultural background, religion, or ability. It means we won't be limited by how much parents can contribute, and we'll be able to make decisions based on what will bring the most good to our community, not based on how much money it will bring in.

It means we can keep giving.

So far we have raised $1000 and now we need you.

Every little bit helps.

We thank you for helping us to provide the art of dance to our community.

For more information on how to participate, please contact us at

To learn more about how Giving Tuesday started and how it works, please visit

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Let’s Hear it for the Heights: United We Dance Spring Recital

Heather Godfrey

United We Dance, Dance Project of Washington Heights’ Spring recital is coming up on June 4th. Did you buy tickets yet? Whether you’re a friend, family member or simply someone who is looking for a wonderful way to contribute to and see our hard work and practice live and in person, we invite you to see for yourself just how much beauty and skill our students and teachers bring to the stage.



Want to see some of our oh-so-many talented dancers? Below you can preview some fantastic photos of our practice, practice, practicing rehearsals!


Whether you choose to attend, support or donate, please know community is essential to our continued success. 


We are grateful to be able to bring this recital to life and we look forward to seeing you on June 4th!





Tickets $10, free for children under 5

Discounts for families

$20 for tickets near the stage.

United Palace Theater/4140 Broadway

Sunday, June 4th, 2017. Doors open at 3:00pm

For more info, please take a look at:


Dance News: Check out The 11th Annual Dance Parade & Festival “Dance for Peace”. 

Heather Godfrey

- by Liz Berntson

Looking for something bound to be fun, inspiring and sure to be a good time? Consider dancing in or otherwise checking out the 11th Annual Dance Parade and Festival on Saturday, May 20th, 2017. According to the website,, this year’s “ceremony is reflection of this year’s theme, DANCE FOR PEACE, celebrating diversity and culture.” The parade will include 150 dance groups across 83 particular styles of dance, all with their own take on what it means to celebrate peace and unity.

The fun begins between 22nd and 21st between Park and Fifth Avenue, where the Parade will kick off at 1pm. From there, you can watch and/or hustle, pirouette, tap, etc. your way along Broadway as thousands of dancers of all types groove their way to Astor Place where there will be performances at a grandstand. But the dancing doesn’t stop there. The website also says, “Ending in Tompkins Square Park, DanceFest comes alive from 3 to 7pm highlighting the artistic excellence and cultural treasures found in the Dance Parade. Festival goers are invited to view the richness of its cultural forms on four stages, participate in social dancing and take dance lessons—all FREE to the public.” The parade also will include gorgeous floats and hosts a photo contest.


And if you find yourself still wanting to move to the music post parade and festivities, there’s an after party just a block from Tompkins Square Park. For even more details, take a look at:

Dance Parade route:


Want to join a dance group?


There are so many reasons to dance, love and celebrate here in New York City and this seems like a great way to get down and with a whole lotta of our like-minded neighbors! 

Hope to see you there.

The Etoile Questionnaire - Gentry Isaiah George

Heather Godfrey

 Art by Shanya Lewis

Art by Shanya Lewis

-by Liz Berntson

The Etoile (etoile, in case you didn’t know, translates to star) Questionaire was created to get to learn more about the stars at Washington Heights Dance Project (WHDP).

We’ll be featuring the Etoile Questionnaire once a month to get to know all of the stars at our organization – here at WHDP, we have an abundance of personalities that bring light to all of our lives.

Whether they be students, parents, teachers or someone otherwise involved in some way with WHDP, they are the “etoiles” whose luminosity connects us to ourselves and each other, the stars who are forever brilliantly shining on our world – in the arts, in friendship and in community.

So without further ado, this month, we’ll be getting to know Gentry Isaiah George (known by his students as Mr. George):

 Photo credit: United Palace of Cultural Arts

Photo credit: United Palace of Cultural Arts


1.What is your idea of perfect happiness?

A life with family and friends, as well as a career where I have the opportunity to empower and encourage. 

2.What is your greatest fear?

Well... I hope to maintain a healthy lifestyle and live with little to no pain, if possible. 

3.What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?


4.What is the trait you most deplore in others?


5.Which living dancer do you most admire?

Whoa... anyone who has courage to train and perform has my admiration. 

6.When did you first know you wanted to be a dancer?

When I was ten years old I saw the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater perform. I knew then I could grow up to have what it takes to be a professional dancer. 

7. What is your current state of mind?

Work Hard. Be Kind. 

8.What do you consider the most overrated virtue?


9.What is the quality you most like in a dancer?


10.Which dance words or phrases do you most overuse?

"Yes" and "good job".

11.What or who is the greatest love of your life?

My mother.

12.When and where were you happiest?

When I was a child, with my family.

13.Aside from the ability to dance, which talent would you most like to have?

The ability to play piano and speak several languages. 

14.If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

I would like to spend less time on the internet and more time asleep. 

15.What do you consider your greatest achievement?

Founding ZEST Collective Dance and working for Dance Project of Washington Heights have been my greatest achievements. 

16.If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, who or what would it be?

A horse or a golden retriever, with a sweet and compassionate owner. 

17.Where would you most like to live?

Inwood or Riverdale, NYC. In truth so long as I can live and work near my students I am happy. 

18.What is your most treasured possession?

I have plant a friend gave me a long time ago. I recently threw away all my old furniture so it is pretty much the one thing I still look after. 

19. What is your most marked characteristic?


 20. What do you most value in your students?

Their smiles and their abundance of joy. 

 21. Who are your favorite dancers?

My students at Dance Project of Washington Heights of course. 

 22. What is the most memorable dance you have ever witnessed?

I once saw Alonzo King's Lines Ballet performance Jacob's Pillow during a thunderstorm. The entire theater was on edge as no one had ever experienced such a powerful storm, yet the dancers were so luminous and expressive. The work was about the migration of birds and it was so brilliant to witness them live during such a scary evening. 

23.Which professional dancer do you most identify with?

I identify with anyone who expresses great gratitude for life and shares their joy and discoveries with the world. 

 24.Who are your heroes in real life – dance-related or otherwise? 

My mom and dad. Also my teachers Linda Agyapong, Sylvia Padron, Peter London, and Vladimir Issaev. 

25. What are your favorite names? 

Names from the past are often very beautiful to hear. 

26. What is it that you most dislike? 

People who are unsupportive and who actually go out of their way to bring others down. 

27. What is your greatest regret? 

The times I thought telling a lie was better than telling the truth.

28. What is your motto? 

Peace, Light, Love, Unity.

29. What words of wisdom would you offer your students?

Never Give Up. 






What We’re Getting a Kick Out of: International Dance Day

Heather Godfrey

- by Liz Berntson

Welcome, welcome, welcome! WELCOME!

Besides the fact that we’re getting a kick out of the fact that this is our official blog launch, naturally we’re super excited that this Saturday, April 29th is International Dance Day ( In case you didn’t know, it happens to be observed on this day because it’s the birthday of Jean-Georges-Noverre (

Didn’t know you say? Not to worry – it’s tomorrow, you have a day to prepare!

So whether you decide to enroll in a class (, go see a performance (, rent a classic movie that happens to include our neighborhood ( or celebrate in your own special way (here are a few good ideas -, we encourage you to find a way to honor this art in a way that’s meaningful to you – to take a moment and reflect on the way or ways in which dance has brought beauty and knowledge to your life.

Here at Dance Project of Washington Heights we’ll be thinking of our students, parents, teachers and a community that make it possible for us to learn, instruct, motivate, excite and grow. Dance has allowed us to forge relationships, improve and discover our bodies and minds, tell our stories and to witness what others have to say – it is a nothing short of a privilege.

Thank you.

Happy International Dance Day to all.

Dear Families,

Heather Godfrey

Welcome to the Winter/Spring semester of Dance Project of Washington Heights! I’m very excited and I hope you are too. We have over 400 students registered and counting, and MANY of those are returning students. I can’t wait to see how much they all grow over the next several months.  This spring we’ll be doing our annual performance on the stage of the United Palace Theatre for the first time! (Save the date – Sunday, June 4th).  I want to start the semester off by answering a question that many of you may have:

Why did I start Dance Project of Washington Heights, and why am I still committed to it?

Because dancing onstage for the first time was the most magical thing I had ever experienced.

     MMMany of our students had the opportunity this past December to perform as Munchkins as part of the pre-show of the United Palace’s screening of The Wizard of Oz. As Oona and Livia, two of our 5 year-old students, both exclaimed they wanted to go right back out there and perform again! That’s exactly how I felt the first time I was on stage, and I love giving kids the chance to experience that incredible magic.

Because I used to be shy.

               I was painfully, awkwardly, uncomfortable-in-my-own-body shy. Dance gave me confidence and poise, taught me to own my body and gave me an identity I was proud of. I know the influence that dance training and performance can have on someone – how it can take a child and create a stronger, more resilient and more joyful person, and how that carries through in whatever that dancer does in life. 

Because dance was like therapy.

               When I was going through the stress of my parents’ divorce, dance was my outlet. I danced my heart out every day after school, and I was able to get through it all. Dance has that power.

Because I had a dance teacher who watched me, pushed me, encouraged me and gave me opportunity.

               She also knew I couldn’t afford to take as many classes as I needed. She knew if I was going to go anywhere with dance, I needed to be training much more. She asked me to work as her classroom assistant and at the front desk in exchange for free dance classes until I graduated. SSShe was one of many generous adults who helped me along the way. Every child needs that.

Because I thrive on community.

               Dance Project of Washington Heights is about so much more than just dance classes. It’s about creating a diverse community that is working to create something special and beautiful. It’s about crossing invisible boundaries to form relationships. I get so excited seeing these relationships form all around me and experiencing them myself. 


I want to share with you a few ways that you can help support this growing community:

Pay What You Can

Right now we are not covering our costs. For this reason we’re raising our suggested donation to $20, though you should still continue to pay what you can afford. We need every dollar you contribute, so please carefully consider what you can give. If you send your child to class with another adult, please make sure they remember to pay. 

Consider setting up an automatic monthly payment. Doing so will make it simpler for you and will help stabilize our financial situation. You can do this easily by going to the Payment page on our website. 


Do you have time to give? Do you have skills that might be useful or a willingness to learn something new? It is so important that everyone gets involved in whatever way they can because DPWH relies on volunteers to help with many, many areas. Here are just a few ways you can help, check out our Volunteer page for more info:

·        Staff our sign-in desk during classes and check kids in to their classes

·        Help bring children to the bathroom during classes

·        Design, create, or organize costumes

·        Grant writing

·        Fundraising

·        Performance or Event planning

·        Marketing and PR

Keep up with what we’re doing

We frequently email newsletters via MailChimp. Unfortunately they often go into your spam or promotions folder.  Please add us to your contact list so this doesn’t happen, and regularly check those folders for communications from us! Oh and if you do receive any emails, PLEASE READ THEM! And Like us on Facebook, and follow us on Instagram and Twitter. We post lots of updates and photos!

Donate Items

Here are some things we need right now: 

-        Laptops and tablets

-        Storage bins to organize our closet

-        Envelopes

-        Dance clothing and shoes




Heather Godfrey

Co-Founder and Executive Director