Coronavirus News: National Dance Institute offering virtual classes and hope

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- It was no small feat, but this virtual number with dozens of students from the National Dance Institute was part of a star-studded virtual benefit for the non-profit that's been keeping New York City kids moving and grooving since 1976.

"The joy on their faces," said Ellen Weinstein, Artistic Director, National Dance Institute, "I wept when I saw the final result."

The dancers say while it may not be a live show, they still get butterflies.

"It was funny because while I was watching myself dance, I had like second-hand anxiety," said Malachy Fong, NDI dancer. "I thought I was going to mess up. It's still really great! That feeling of being there."

Due to the pandemic, NDI is offering free virtual dance instruction to everyone through their website, Facebook and Instagram live. While it's not their traditional model of free instruction within the city's schools, it still offers a sense of hope.

"We are hoping to just share the joy and exuberance and energy, and sense of connection," Weinstein said.

The classes are great for reinforcing physical health and emotional wellbeing.

"Dance is just my way to let go of everything," said Celeste Mason, NDI dancer.

"Forget about the bad things going on in the world," said Aubrey Mills, NDI dancer.

During these difficult times, it's a welcome activity.

"The arts are essential. It feeds the soul, it's so important for everyone," said Traci Lester, Executive Director, NDI.

The blessing of the virtual class is that they will reach more people, hoping to sustain a non-profit organization that has inspired thousands each and every year.

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