New York City Dance Alliance Foundation prepares dancers for their futures with college scholarships

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Friday, March 1, 2024
NYC Dance Alliance Foundation prepares dancers for their futures
The organization has awarded nearly $5 million to aspiring dancers.

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- The New York City Dance Alliance Foundation helps aspiring dancers pay for college.

Since it was founded back in 2010, nearly $5 million in funds have been awarded to more than 500 aspiring dancers.

"One of the most exciting things about what we do is not, here's a check and then we're done, it really is, we are invested in this person as a human," said Joe Lanteri, founder. "You will meet so many dancers that are in my life that I met as teenagers that are now working professionals of all generations and to me that is really fulfilling."

Fulfilling because of how life-changing it is for those the foundation is able to help.

"A moment in my life that I will never forget, it was one of the most memorable and special moments, was the day I received the college scholarship fund from the foundation. It literally has changed my life," Zoe said. "From that day, I was able to reach my destiny and have my dreams come true and attend Marymount Manhattan College, which then led me to where I'm at today, Parsons Dance Company, and I have been there for nine years now."

"We're at Steps on Broadway which is my home, it's the platform that I built my whole life and career as a teacher and choreographer, and I've always been about creating opportunities for a young dancer," Lanteri said. "They're getting some support from the colleges, they're getting decent financial packages to attend the school, but they need that little extra kick and that's where the foundation helps."

Lanteri brought Eyewitness News to a rehearsal, where two other college scholarship recipients were dancing.

"They're rehearsing the number that they're going to set for over 50 current scholarship recipients that will be performed Monday night at Destiny Rising," he said.

"NYCDA has always been such a community, it always brings us back through different opportunities and we were different generations, but the fact that we were able to get to know each other and have been able to work with so many past and present NYCDA students," Ida said.

"I received a scholarship to Marymount Manhattan and it was genuinely a life-changing thing for me, it allowed me to be able to pursue my dreams and be able to keep dance in my life," Abby said.

Ida said it shaped her future by also giving her the information she needed to make her dreams come true.

"I knew nothing about college, and specifically dance in college, and so the foundation was really able to also give me the education in terms of the other schools that have dance programs," Ida said. "And I think is allowing dancers in smaller communities to get this education and then continue their education which is huge for the dance community in general."

The founder of the program hopes it continues on through his dancers.

"I would say the most valuable thing I've learned from Joe Lanteri is to give back," Zoe said. "Joe has given me the opportunity to come back here at Steps and not only am I here dancing as a student, I'm now teaching and it's one of my favorite things."

"We are truly investing in talented teenagers, we're helping to truly shape the future of what the dance world can be, not only... for me honestly, it's never just about dance, it really is about the human behind the dancer and so we're shaping the next leaders of our world," Lanteri said. "Dancers, creative people, are some of the most forward-thinking people on this planet, they're going to go on and do amazing things, regardless if they go into dance or not."

Monday's benefit show will not only include performances from NYCDA alumni, but it will feature guest performances by the American Ballet Theater, Complexions Contemporary Ballet, Parsons Dance, and much more.

All proceeds from ticket sales and direct donations from the evening go towards the Foundation's scholarship fund.

Monday's benefit "Destiny Rising" will be held at The Joyce Theater in Chelsea at 7:30 p.m.


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