In NYCDA’s 500 Club, Studios Can Raise Money for Student Scholarships

In recent years, New York City Dance Alliance has become known for its college dance scholarships. Since its inception in 2010, the organization’s scholarship foundation has awarded more than $12 million to students, often offering full rides to respected four-year institutions. Now, NYCDA is looking for studios to contribute to the scholarship pool. You'll be joining proud sponsors like Dance Magazine; plus, it's an investment that could easily pay off for your students in the future.

Through July 1, NYCDA invites studios to join its 500 Club, meaning you commit to contributing $500 to NYCDA’s scholarship fund. The ultimate goal is to round up 200 studios that will contribute a total of $100,000 toward student scholarships.

NYCDA encourages studios to take on the donation commitment as a fundraising goal, since the funds can benefit your dancers in the future, as they prepare for college. This year, the main college scholarship audition will be held on July 2 in New York City, open to all dancers who attend the NYCDA summer workshop. Plus, for every $1,000 your studio raises, a dancer will be eligible to attend a second, private, audition, September 26 in New York City.

Layeelah Muhammad, courtesy DAYPC

This summer's outcry to fully see and celebrate Black lives was a wake-up call to dance organizations.

And while many dance education programs are newly inspired to incorporate social justice into their curriculums, four in the San Francisco Bay area have been elevating marginalized youth and focusing on social change for decades.

GIRLFLY, Grrrl Brigade, The Alphabet Rockers and Destiny Arts Youth Performance Company fuse dance with education around race, gender, climate change and more, empowering young artists to become leaders in their communities. Here's how they do it.

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Teacher Voices
Getty Images

I often teach ballet over Zoom in the evenings, shortly after sunset. Without the natural light coming from my living room window, I drag a table lamp next to my portable barre so that the computer's camera can see me clearly enough. I prop the laptop on a chair taken from the kitchen and then spend the next few hours running back and forth between the computer screen of Zoom tiles and my makeshift dance floor.

Much of this setup is the result of my attempts to recreate the most important aspects of an in-person dance studio: I have a barre, a floor and as much space as I can reasonably give myself within a small apartment. I do not, however, have a mirror, and neither do most of my students.

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Allie Burke, courtesy Lo Cascio

If you'd hear it on the radio, you won't hear it in Anthony Lo Cascio's tap classes.

"If I play a song that my kids know, I'm kind of disappointed in myself," he says. "I either want to be on the cutting edge or playing the classics."

He finds that most of today's trendy tracks lack the depth needed for tap, and that there's a disconnect between kids and popular music. "They have trouble finding the beat compared to older genres," he says.

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