Written by Kathi-Jo Hubner and Lynda Griffin, Founders, Northern Westchester School of Dance
We formed the Northern Westchester School of Dance in 2012 with 27 students and a goal of having a place where students can plant their feet and further their dance educations.
One year later, we have 250 registrations and six professional teachers who travel in from NYC each day. We have provided our students with professional training—as if they went into New York and took classes at Joffrey or ABT. Our teachers are Broadway veterans, former Rockettes, So You Think You Can Dance choreographers, actors who appear in films and performers who have danced alongside Madonna, Rihanna and Usher, among other current stars.
By bringing these talented teachers to Westchester, we tried to give the kids the very best dance education possible.
We’ve also launched some unique opportunities for local students, such as our Circus Camp that runs for 2 weeks in August. We hire the same professional aerialists that trained performers in shows such as Cirque du Soliel and Broadway shows like Pippin and Chix6. These trainers bring in the their equipment and we turn the studio into an aerialists paradise. Lyras, Silks, tight wire and circus equipment like the diabolos (chinese yoyo) and stilts—all opportunities we try to give the students in the community.
We also have a student-run community service group called the Rhapsody Dance Company. Those students come together each week and decide where they would like to donate their time. They really have done so much for the community from performing at the Katonah Museum of Art's fundraiser; organizing a holiday gift drive to help a Katonah family in need and performing at a variety of community organizations including the Osborn Retirement home, Somers Manor Nursing home and “Cause for Paws,” a fundraiser for the humane society). They are a wonderful group of dedicated and generous dancers who truly make a difference in our community.
To read more about our school’s founding, read this Patch story.-Kathi-Jo Hubner and Lynda Griffin, Founders, Northern Westchester School of Dance