Website Logo
In Step With DC
Dancers perform at Make-A-Wish Gala
Written by Joe Naftal on May 12, 2017

On May 11th, dancers from the Dance Connection Competition Team performed at the Suffolk County Make-A-Wish Foundation’s annual “Bouquet of Wishes” gala at Villa Lombardi’s in Holbrook. This year’s gala celebrated 17 year old Rory, who’s wish was to visit Abby Road. As an homage to Rory’s wish, the gala was Rock ’n’ Roll themed. Dance Connection performed to Tina Turner’s “Proud Mary” and the Beatles’ “Here Comes the Sun”, co-choreographed by Mary Naftal and Melinda Civitella and was performed by Dance Connection’s Senior Competition Team and soloist dancers.


Putting together a dance for a benefit gala is always done on a tight schedule and this year was no exception. The dancers only had 3 rehearsals over two weeks to learn the choreography and perfect the dance.  The choreographers and dancers worked hard to put on a special performance for all of the guests and supporters at the Make-A-Wish gala.



“I am so proud of these dancers tonight. I think they did fabulous work. Many thanks to their parents for getting them to the rehearsals, buying them a costume, and getting them to their rehearsals and performance on time. The performance was an amazing display of teamwork. The dancers all brought smiles and energy while giving their gift of dance” – Mary Naftal, President & Artistic Director


Dance Connection has been partnering with the Make-A-Wish Foundation’s Suffolk County chapter for the past 5 years, performing at their annual holiday parties, their National Believe Day celebrations, and at their annual galas. In 2016, Dance Connection was the presenting sponsor for the first-ever Making Wishes Grow benefit show, directed by Mary Naftal and produced by Joe Naftal, featuring our dancers in concert with performers from across Long Island.




Joe Naftal

Joe Naftal is the Marketing Director for Dance Connection. When not working at Dance Connection, Joe has a career as a theatrical lighting designer, assistant designer, and production manager. His experience spans the worlds of classical and contemporary theatre, musicals, ballet, modern dance, and opera. In addition to his work at Dance Connection, Joe collaborates with Dance Studio Owners across the country, is a member of the Panel of Experts, has been featured in the business section of Dance Teacher Magazine, and was on the seminar faculty for the 2016 Dance Teacher Summit in New York City. Joe holds a BFA from UNC School of the Arts and is a proud member of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE).