Neglia’s 'CityDance' increases access to dance (WKBW-TV ch. 7)

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Neglia’s ‘CityDance’ increases access to dance

“My favorite part of dance is when we interact together”


Posted at 6:15 PM, May 16, 2023
and last updated 6:30 PM, May 16, 2023

BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) — There’s a special program helping connect Buffalo students to dance. Neglia Ballet Artists developed this program to increase access to dance education for families who normally wouldn’t have the chance to learn.

It’s the last class of the school year for young dancers at Catholic Academy. They’ve worked hard the last five weeks learning about dance movement in this CityDance class.

“You can really see how people learn from each other from movement, even when they’re not speaking and seeing those connections come to life is the best part for me,” Neild noted.

Neild is the program director of Neglia’s CityDance and teaches the classes. Neglia started the program in 2001 to give city students a chance to dance, but over time this program has progressed into a deeper community program, exposing even more students and families to the art.

A large portion of Catholic Academy’s diverse population comes from underserved communities.

“Anything that’s movement-focused and all of our classes through CityDance program are customized for our partners, so we still offer ballet, but we have a conversation with that partner that we are working with and see their needs are, what assets they have, what assets we have,” Neild explained.

“My favorite part of dance is when we interact together — when dancing together and we just all make our own dances and we add it together,” reflected Kesia Baraka, student.

“It’s really fun. I’ve been growing and growing, and different types of ways and it gets funnier and funnier,” replied Billy Horrigan, student.

Students are now using their creativity and teamwork to create their own dances with the information that they’ve learned over the last five weeks.

Dance not only provides students a chance to exercise but also expands their minds and enhances their discipline.

“We’ve talked about positive and negative space in the body, symmetry — how to get from one point to another, and time — use of time in dance,” Neild remarked.

“I realize that it makes you more graceful,” noted Billy Horrigan, student.

Fourth grader Billy Horrigan tells me this dance class has helped him become a better soccer player and he’s encouraging other boys to get involved.

“I would tell you that it would make you stronger and it would help you with other stuff,” Horrigan responded.

Sixth grader Kesia Baraka tells me she got more comfortable dancing in front of new people.

“My parents they’re really happy that they were teaching me — like all these new things,” Baraka commented.

Click here for photos and the full transcript

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