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In Step With DC
3 Ways That Dance Connection Gives Back
Written by Erin Sforza on November 16, 2018

Every year our studio makes sure that we are giving back to the community that gives so much to us. Through the Competition Team, our NHSDA Chapter and our new Wingman program we are always trying to find ways to use our students’ love of dance as away to better their community and their relationships with each other. Here are three ways that we reach out as a studio to set an example and to “Be the Change” that we are looking to see in the world.

Make-A-Wish of Suffolk County Partnership and our Performance Fundraisers: For almost a decade now, our studio has partnered with the Suffolk County Make-A-Wish organization by providing entertainment for their annual holiday parties and gala, as well as for Macy’s Believe Day celebrations at Westfield Bay Shore. We are so honored to help bring happiness to some of Suffolk County’s bravest kids and most deserving families. This year will also mark the third year of our Making Wishes Grow performance that gathers performers from dance studios and theater programs throughout Long Island as well as Wish Alumni to provide a night of entertainment and amazing stories from those that have been granted a wish and are now committed to giving that inspiration and hope to others battling childhood illness. All of the net proceeds for this evening go to Make-A-Wish of Suffolk County. 

This year will be our first holiday fundraising performance as Step Into Christmas brings a little holiday magic to the Noel S. Ruiz Theatre at CM Performing Arts Center this December. We’ll be bringing a holiday spectacular to the stage that includes a heartwarming holiday story and dances to some of your holiday favorites. The proceeds from Step Into Christmas will be donated to Gavin’s Got Heart, a wonderful local organization whose mission is to provide financial and emotional support for families with children affected by congenital heart defects. GGH helps to subsidize medical bills, travel expenses associated with hospitalizations and medical care, and offset loss of wages for caregiver/parent(s).  To date GGH has donated over $215,000 to 43 local heart families. GGH also provides free heart screenings, and CPR/AED training for the community through a partnership with Northwell Health and provides hospital outreach initiatives for heart families.The organization was founded by Nicole Mogil, who is a Dance Connection Alumna and Faculty Emeritus. We are so proud of her and so happy to support this worthy cause!

Community Involvement: As a member of the Islip Chamber of Commerce, we are always looking for ways to support our town through our love of dance. For the last few years we have been thrilled to be a part of the Islip Town Holiday parade and kick off the town’s holiday season! This year we’ll be opening this event up for more members of our studio family to participate so stay tuned! We also try to participate in the annual street fair that ushers in another summer of fun here in Islip! Below is a video of last year’s parade.

Our Giving Tree: Among the most important and fulfilling contributions that Dance Connection is able to make to our community is our Giving Tree. Every year we partner with social workers in our area and “adopt” a few local families to brighten up their holidays by making their holiday wishes come true. We’ve had requests for everything from toys and games to winter wear, clothing, diapers, and even a car seat. The most amazing part, and the part that makes us most proud is that we work together as a studio, both the staff and dancers’ families to make sure all of these families have a wonderful holiday. We are incredibly fortunate to have such generous students and families around us and every year we are grateful for all of your help and care. 

We are so happy to be a part of this community, and every year we look for more ways to help brighten the days of those around us in an effort to make Islip, Suffolk County, and Long Island an even better place to live. 

Erin Sforza

Erin is the Public Relations Coordinator for Dance Connection. She studied dance from childhood through college and continues to be an active member of the Long Island theatre community. Erin received a BA in both Musical Theatre Performance and History from the University of Tampa, and has utilized aspects of both degrees working in the hospitality industry, as an Event Coordinator for the Heckscher Museum of Art in Huntington, and as the PR/Marketing Coordinator and Group Sales Coordinator for the CM Performing Arts Center in Oakdale. In addition to being a part of the Dance Connection staff, she is a Travel Consultant affiliated with MouseEarVacations.com and CruisingCo.com.