Put on your dancing shoes, New York! It's that time of year again when the "Stars of New York Dance!"
On Thursday, November 1, 2012, the wildly popular "Stars of New York Dance" competition returns to downtown Brooklyn for its third year to bring the community together to dance for a cause.
The 2011 Stars of New York Dance is inspired by Dancing with the Stars, using the excitement and interactiveness of a dance competition with New York’s own “stars of the community.” Founded by Cheryl Todmann, Stars of New York Dance raises scholarship funds for children from low-income communities in New York City to aid in increasing their access to dance and the arts.
"I learned to dance at the age of 30 with two bad knees, and it changed my life," said Todmann. "I became more confident, creative and started winning awards at work. I thought, if dance could do that for me, then it could help children succeed in school and in life."
Errol Louis, political anchor and host of “Inside City Hall” on NY 1 News, returns for a second year as the host and the Reverend Johnny Ray Youngblood, executive pastor at Mt. Pisgah Baptist Church in Bed-Stuy, will be honored at this year’s second annual dance-off, taking place at the Kumble Theater for the Performing Arts, 7:00pm.
Six couples will compete to win a $5,000 Access Award grand prize, which they will donate to a local children’s arts organization of their choice. Before the actual competition, the chosen “dancing stars” of New York undergo weeks of rigorous dance training with a professional dance partner to prepare a three-minute routine.
This year’s chosen “dancing stars” are:
• Eric Adams, NY State Senator (D-20) who will dance with Jasmine Poole of Balance Dance Theatre
• Reverend Richard Honeywell, Associate Pastor at St. Paul Community Baptist Church, who is partnered with Naeemah Brown of Cradle-N-the-Rock Youth Dance Ensemble
• Darlene Mealy, New York City Council Member (D-41), who will dance with Kevin Joseph of Purelements: An Evolution in Dance
• Kevin S. Parker, New York State Senator (D-19), is partnered with Zakiya M. Harris of Asase Yaa African-American Dance Theatre
• Donna White, teacher at Trey Whitfield School, is partnered with Victor Reddick of Creative Outlet Dance Theatre of Brooklyn
• John L. Sampson, State Senator (D-19), will dance with Serina E. Young of Synergism School of Dance
"Each year, I am amazed at the New York City leaders who say yes to dancing in the competition, because it's a very unusual request," said Todmann. "But these leaders know the importance that dance and the arts have in the lives of children, and they are always up for a good challenge for a good cause.
"These leaders actually experience first-hand the same training, challenges and breakthroughs as the young people they are dancing for, and they learn for themselves the power that dance and the arts have in changing lives."
This year's judges include Artist, Author and Philanthropist Danny Simmons, Karen Thornton-Daniels, artistic director for Restoration Dance Theater and Public Relations Expert and Author Terrrie Williams.
Whether you're an avid fan of the television show sensation (Dancing with the Stars), or whether you're simply a rhythm junkie, you can surely enjoy yourself at this lively fundraising event, which combines the sounds of great music, the thrill of competition and the excitement of seeing your local community leaders shimmy, shake and boogie for a cause.
Tickets for Stars of New York Dance are $75; VIP tickets which include VIP seating and the cocktail reception are $125.
Purchase tickets online at www.kumbletheater.org. Checks can also be made payable to The Stars of New York Dance and mailed to P.O. Box 170511, Times Plaza Station, Brooklyn, NY, 11217.
Stay tuned to Bed-Stuy Patch in the coming weeks, as we will bring you rehearsal footage of this year's stars.