A local homeless shelter and a local dance school have been partnering in several ways. The church housing the shelter allows the private dance company to use one of its rooms for lessons. In return, the dance company allows children who live at the shelter to attend the school, and performs two charity concerts per year.
St. John the Baptist’s Lutheran Church, on the corner of Third and Bloomfield streets, has had many uses in its long history. Today, the bottom floor houses Hoboken’s only homeless shelter, and every night 15 women sleep just above it, in the church’s gorgeous main hall. During the day, the space is transformed into a dance studio, where members of the Every Little Movement Academy of the Arts practice their rigorous routines they perform throughout Hoboken and New York City.
On Saturday, June 21, the company will hold a benefit performance to raise money for the shelter.
The performance will take place at DeBaun Auditorium, 24 Fifth St., at 3 p.m. (with a 2:30 p.m. seating). Tickets are $15 a person, every $2 of which can fund a hot meal for a guest at the shelter.
“They’re fighting to end hunger and homelessness right here in Hoboken.” – Jaclyn Cherubini
Francesca Todesco, who founded Every Little Movement in 2006, said she believes an important step toward becoming a great dancer is understanding the audience and the larger community to which it belongs. Dancing to benefit the shelter, she said, naturally complements the company’s philosophy that dance, especially in its modern forms, is about the spreading of good will. Not to mention the fact that students learn the importance of helping their community.
“Not all of these kids are going to become dancers, of course, but to develop a love of art and creativity at a young age and understand how it can create awareness about the community that you’re dancing in is a very important lesson,” said Todesco.
Dance for dancing’s sake
Every Little Movement embraces creative movement for kids as a pillar of dance education, rather than rote memorization of phrases and steps. In doing so, the school produces confident dancers familiar with a wide variety of artistic disciplines, including music and theatre as well as movement.
“The techniques can come later as a student gets older,” said Todesco. “It’s crucial for them to understand free movement at a young age, and to develop a love for expressing themselves through movement.”
Todesco bases her lessons largely off the teachings of Isadora Duncan, the world-famous choreographer credited with developing classical modern dance. In addition, several of the school’s students have performed with Dances with Isadora, a professional company in New York City.
Todesco herself was inspired by Duncan when she arrived in America from Switzerland nearly 15 years ago. She moved first to Missouri, then New York City, and from there came to Hoboken to teach modern dance to the daughter of a friend. Soon she decided to open a school.
“Expression is important and dancing stimulates the brain,” she said.
For more information on the school, visit www.everylittlemovement.com. For more information on the Hoboken Shelter, visit www.facebook.com/hobokenshelter.
Dean DeChiaro may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org