"I wish I could be a dancer but nobody wants me…"
From those words, uttered by a child with cerebral palsy, Dancing Dreams was born.
A 501(c)3 nonprofit founded in 2002 with a mission of allowing physically challenged children the opportunity to participate in dance classes and performances, Dancing Dreams has grown from five dancers to the current enrollment of over one hundred dancers. Boys and girls ages 3-21 dance in one of eight weekly classes at our Bayside, Queens site, our Manhattan site, or our Glen Head, Long Island site. While there is a suggested donation, no one is ever turned away for inability to pay, and more than 85% of our students are on scholarship.
The program is unique in that classes are taught by licensed physical therapists, allowing even the most physically impaired child to dance to their maximum ability level. Each dancer is paired 1:1, or even 2:1, with a volunteer Helper, a 13-18-year-old student enrolled in our Teen Leadership Program. The Leadership Program endeavors to improve self-esteem and leadership skills of high school students through their assistance at weekly class as well as participation in workshops designed to cultivate skills for future success. The current group of over 160 volunteers come from over 30 different high schools.
Each year culminates with a Year End Performance. This year’s show, featuring over 300 costumes and numerous full-scale sets, was attended by over 1,000 guests. There is no charge to families for costumes or tickets for performances.
The Dancing Dreams program is diverse, reaching across a wide range of socioeconomic and cultural groups, and serving over 200 families in the tri-state area. Dancing Dreams has been featured by many media outlets, including The Meredith Vieria Show and NBC's Nightly News with Lester Holt.
Further information, as well as photos and videos, can be accessed at www.dancingdreams.org and on our social media accounts (Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter).