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On Friday, November 18, eight beloved and respected leaders in the community will lace up their dancing shoes, get some pep in their step and get ready to take part in the 7th Annual The Stars of New York Dance– a lively, thrilling and hilariously fun dance-off competition that raises dance education funds for children from low-income communities.

Returning as host for the seventh year in a row is Errol Louis of NY1 News. This year’s event will honor Tony Award-winning Choreographer, Director and Producer George Faison

[perfectpullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]”I had faith and believed that this was my personal assignment,” ~Cheryl Todmann, Founder of The Stars of New York Dance [/perfectpullquote]

Similar to Dancing with the Stars, seven New York City leaders (“The Stars”) will partner with seven professional dance artists (“The Dancers”) who teach and perform with a community-based dance organization around NYC. The Stars engage in weeks of rigorous dance training to learn a three- to four- minute routine choreographed by their dance partner.

“I started dancing at St Paul Community Baptist Church at the age of 30 with two bad knees, and dance changed my life,” said Cheryl Todmann, founder and creative director of The Stars of New York Dance. “I became more confident, creative and started winning awards at work. I thought if it can do this for me, it could help children and adults in our community reach their full potential. So even though I didn’t have a dance or production background, I had faith and believed that this was my personal assignment.”

The night of the event, the seven couples compete to perform the fiercest dance duet and are judged on originality, creativity, technique, showmanship and costumes.

The couple that receives the highest judged score wins a $5,000 Dance Access Award to provide five or more children from low-income communities in New York City with a free year of high-quality dance education and training with their respective dance organization. The other competing dance organizations receive a $1,000 Dance Access Award that pays for dance tuition fees, class uniforms, shoes and dance costumes.

“Community and church members come out in droves to see their elected officials and pastors dance, because legislators and pastors don’t typically dance in this way ! But they will for a good cause!,” said Todmann.

Take a look at last year’s winners: Rev. David K. Brawley and his partner Karisma Jay of AbunDance Academy of the Arts:

Since its inception in 2010, the response to the competition has been amazing. In addition to providing more than 50 children with free and subsidized dance education and training with a local, community-based dance organization, the dance-off also has created hundreds of new dance ambassadors from the community who participate as competitors and are developing new audiences for dance.

This year’s “Dancing Stars” are:

   Déjà Vu, On-Air Personality, WBLS-FM
   Nicole Paultre Bell, Community Activist
   Michael Lambert, Executive Director, Bed-Stuy Gateway Business Improvement District
   Lisa A. Bing, President, Bing Consulting Group, Inc.; Vice Chair,  Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce
   Muriel Goode-Trufant, Managing Attorney, New York City Law Department; First Lady, Emmanuel Baptist Church
   Alfonzo Forrest, Chief Education Administrator, Trey Whitfield School
   Ronald Minor, Credit Manager, Faviana New York Designer Dresses; and
   Returning competitor Joseph C. Grant, Jr., Director of Arts & Culture, Office of Council Member Robert E. Cornegy, Jr., 36th Council District, Brooklyn
“Last year, I was robbed of the “Dance Champion’ title. This year, I’m coming back for what’s rightfully mine. I’m doing it for the children, y’all,” said Joseph Grant.

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What: 7th Annual The Stars of New York Dance Competition Benefiting New York City Children and Youth

When: Friday, November 185:30pm VIP Cocktail Reception; 7:00pm Dance Competition

Where: Kumble Theater for the Performing Arts, LIU-Brooklyn Campus, One University Plaza, Brooklyn, NY 11201

Tickets: VIP Tickets include VIP Seating and the 5:30PMCocktail Reception: $125.  General Admission Tickets: $75.  Purchase tickets online at www.kumbletheater.org. Checks can also be made payable to The Stars of New York Dance and mailed to P.O. Box 170511, Times Plaza Station, Brooklyn, NY 11217

 “We are increasing the visibility and the awareness of local dance and arts organizations and showing how vital they are to the community as a whole,” said Todmann. “Our overall goal is to get everyone in NYC to dance and with the leaders, dance organizations and sponsors we partner with. We are well on our way!”

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