A tradition of excellence

Dance Connection was founded in the fall of 1989, by Mary Naftal, as a one-room martial arts & dance center on Sunrise Highway in East Islip. It started off with just 75 students and only 3 dance teachers. Mary’s parents made up the entirety of the office and support staff. In just one short year, Dance Connection had expanded to a two room studio and added additional teaching staff to accommodate its growing enrollment.

In 1997, Dance Connection started the Dance Connection Performance Company, a competitive performance group for serious and dedicated dancers that seek additional performance opportunities and wish to challenge their experience as a dancer. Now in it’s 27th year, the company has competed and performed around the local area as well as throughout the country and operates its own independent organization to fund a portion of the team’s expenses.

Today, as Dance Connection celebrates its 35th season, it continues to grow its enrollment and impact on the community. Dance Connection continues to be central in its surrounding community by sponsoring many local schools, charities, and events. Its reputable programs, warm environment, and student achievements have made Dance Connection well-known throughout the region.

In December 2011, Dance Connection opened a brand new state-of-the-art facility on Freeman Avenue in Islip. The facility boasts three large studios, a spacious lobby, offices for its management team, and the latest technology; making Dance Connection one of the largest and most advanced facilities on Long Island.

In March 2020, Dance Connection founded Penny Prima® a storybook franchise and global dance brand serving dance studios and young dancers across the United States, Canada, and the UK.

In 2024, Dance Connection began on a strategic growth track to add additional studio locations and serve more students across Long Island, opening its next location in Bay Shore, NY in partnership with the Great South Bay YMCA.

Dance Connection has several thousand alumni. Among those alumni are doctors, lawyers, teachers, business owners and can be seen on Broadway, television, modeling runways and dancing/choreographing for many notable productions and events.

Dance Connection began with a simple and essential philosophy; to create a welcoming setting for proper dance education, concentrating on stage presentation, dancer body health and correct technique, while offering bountiful student services and opportunities to enrich their dance experience as well as cultivate them as great people as well as great dancers! Today, this philosophy is still the driving force behind all of the company’s operations and endeavors, across the world and in our neighborhood studios.

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