The Chance to Dance

HACK­EN­SACK’S BLOS­SOM SIS­TERS DANCE KEEPS UN­DER­PRIV­I­LEGED CHIL­DREN ON THEIR TOES

201 Family - - CONTENTS - WRIT­TEN BY JACQUELINE GOLDSCHNEIDER

Hack­en­sack’s Blos­som Sis­ters Dance keeps un­der­priv­i­leged chil­dren on their toes

Grow­ing up poor in Har­lem, sis­ters Shatanya Shaw and Shama El­liott watched other lit­tle girls take the dance classes they couldn’t af­ford. It left a sad­ness that they still re­call now, from their Hack­en­sack-based dance stu­dio, and it’s a feel­ing they hope other lit­tle girls are spared.

When they re­al­ized how many chil­dren in their own com­mu­nity were miss­ing out on dance lessons for fi­nan­cial rea­sons, they turned their school, Blos­som Sis­ters Dance & Per­form­ing Arts, into a non­profit or­ga­ni­za­tion, and of­fered ev­ery child – with or with­out means – an op­por­tu­nity to dance.

“We opened our doors as a tra­di­tional dance school in 2006, but in 2008 we started of­fer­ing re­duced tu­ition pri­vately to par­ents who strug­gled to pay,” El­liott says. “But with so many stu­dents’ fam­i­lies be­ing low in­come, we knew be­com­ing a 501(c)(3) char­ity would let us help the great­est num­ber of chil­dren.”

THE FOUNDERS Shatanya Shaw and Shama Elliot cre­ated a non­profit stu­dio so that all kids can have a chance to take dance classes.

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