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
· 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!
Here are some things we need right now:
- Laptops and tablets
- Storage bins to organize our closet
- Dance clothing and shoes
Co-Founder and Executive Director