Around the UFT

UFT’s 11th annual Celebration of Dance Festival

All that jazz — and everything else!

Miller Photography “Sibe A Si Wa” (Up and Still Running) performed by Science Skills Center HS for Science, Technology & Creative Arts students in Brooklyn.
Miller Photography “Infinity” performed by PS 315 students in Brooklyn.
Miller Photography “What Fun!” performed by PS 165 students in Queens.

The cream of the crop of student dancers from 16 schools across the city gave colorful and jubilant performances before an audience of nearly 400 at the UFT’s 11th annual Celebration of Dance Festival at Long Island City HS on May 18. The event is the creation of the New York City Dance Educators/UFT, which selects the performers through a panel that views videos that teachers submit of their students’ work. “We look for performance-ready work with students who are focused, and engaging choreography,” said Sandra Stratton-Gonzalez, the founding co-chair of the committee, one of the producers of the event and a dance teacher at PS 372 in Brooklyn. Students’ talent was showcased in a bold mix of styles that included ballet, jazz, hip-hop, Latin, modern and tap. “It was a wonderful opportunity for the kids to be on a big stage with a great lighting and sound system,” Stratton-Gonzalez said of the students, who ranged from elementary to middle and high school. “It was inspiring for the little ones to see the older dancers performing,” she said. It was also great for dance educators, who often work in isolation in their schools, sometimes as the only arts specialist in the building. Excellence in Dance Awards were given to 15 students from all grade levels based on excellence in dance, leadership and academic achievement. The production team for the event was Laura Migas and Meredith Perabo, the committee co-chairs, and Monifa Kincaid, Pat Dye and Stratton-Gonzalez. 

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