For ages 10-Young Adult. Participants study hip-hop (primarily) as well as contemporary and other dance styles, meeting once or twice a week during the school year. Juniors (ages 10-14) meet Thursdays 6-8:30pm; Seniors (ages 14+) meet Saturdays 12:30-3:30pm. Talented dancers who are committed to their craft and willing to work hard also have an opportunity (over time) to be invited to join our Elite traveling dance team, and perform in outside venues. Led by expert instructors, Next Level Dancers (NLD) participants learn challenging choreography and develop themselves as dancers with physical conditioning, performance training that incorporates emotional investment and social justice messages as well as technique, and opportunities to choreograph their own work. Since 2006, Lead Instructor Mickey Sakai has been helping our young dancers find their voices, using dance to tell their own stories and advocate for themselves.
In addition to performing at community events (such as Denim Day) and bi-annual showcases, NLD has performed in the Trinity International Hip Hop Conference in Hartford, Connecticut, and the Garner Arts Festival in Garnerville, NY, among other venues; and they are regularly featured at Momma’s Hip Hop Kitchen at Hostos Center for Arts and Culture, an event which serves as a social justice community-organizing platform for women of Color.
NLD often kicks off the school year with an end-of-summer Academy, offering returning as well as prospective new participants a chance to brush up on skills, to drill, and to work with guest artists on specific techniques such as breaking, popping and locking, Afro beats, dancing in heels, ballet and more.
Once or twice a year the most dedicated dancers are invited to attend overnight retreats about an hour upstate, where, with the help of a generous space grant, they are able to stay in a large farmhouse on a beautiful lake-side property. Here they focus deeply on their craft and well as “inside work” — personal reflection, team building, overcoming insecurities, setting personal and squad goals, and filming short videos.
Want to join? Contact Program Director Joy Leonard to learn about the next opportunity!