Dancing Doesn’t Have to Come at a Cost

From Rhode Island, 11,000 pairs of dance shoes twirled their way to Queens. Materials for the Arts is a large warehouse in New York City that partnered with the Joyce Theater and Karen Brooks Hopkins to give away shoes to dancers. The shoes were estimated to have cost $600,000.00. Ocean State Job Lot donated a lot of dance shoes that range from toddlers to adults. These shoes would be provided to dancers in New York City’s theaters and organizations so they can get these with no extra cost.

Materials for the Arts have existed for 45 years. Tied to New York City’s Department of Cultural Affairs, they help provide set materials, props, and clothes to support New York City’s performing arts. As of 2018, this organization has provided 1.8 million pounds of materials across the five boroughs of New York City. Their website holds donation drop-offs for people who no longer need to use their material but could be useful for young kids and adults who are struggling to get objective things in the arts.

The variety of shoes are a mix of tap dancing shoes, ballet shoes, jazz boots, and many more. Deputy mayor Maria Torres-Springer said, “I cannot wait to see these shoes on stages across New York City.”

Flamenco dancers in the warehouse splashed their dresses in multiple colors to bring vibrance to this event. This donation ceremony was cut off with a guest cutting the golden shoestring to open their doors towards dancers. The two Mexican Dance Company dancers would dance in folklórico music. Juan Castaño, the executive director of the Calpulli troupe, expressed that, “Part of the value that we put in them is because we make a lot of our own costuming: We take care of these things that we make ourselves.”

The shoes would be given out until supplies last. Visitors can go to the Materials for the Arts website to schedule the pick-up of shoes at the appropriate time. Any visitor would still need to follow the COVID-19 protocols by ensuring that they have tested negative for COVID-19 and that they have their masks on while entering indoors. One special-education teacher was heartfelt by this action because she had used her own funds to support students who wanted to do something creative, but did not have the money or means to do so. This at least gave a relief to the financial burden to the kids. Another teacher exclaimed, “I’m so excited, the kids are going to be happy to have all this stuff.”

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