The lights in Times Square twinkled as a group of Palm Beach Atlantic (PBA) University dance students took to the stage, sharing the love of Christ through their open-air performance at Project Dance New York. The three-day event gathered professional, pre-professional and aspiring dancers for training, networking and performances.
In 2002, Cheryl Cutlip started The Project Dance Foundation in an effort to bring hope and healing to the world through the universal language of dance. Now, more than 20 years later, Project Dance hosts more than 100 dance events all over the world.
This year, Addison Hand and Reese McWilliams were among the PBA students who attended the three day event.
Hand, a senior at PBA, realized she wanted to pursue dancing seriously when she was just eight years old. The Orlando native described her experience at Project Dance and the butterflies she felt getting to perform in front of hundreds of curious onlookers in the heart of New York City.
“Surreal is the only word I can think of to describe getting to dance in Times Square,” Hand explained. “It was so special to see people being moved by the beauty of dance.”
Not only were students able to dance and worship through their craft, but they were also introduced to world-renowned dancers and instructors, getting the opportunity to learn from the best.
“It was a great way to network with people. The dance world is both bigger and smaller than I realized,” Hand explained. “There are so many opportunities and so many people who want to use dance to impact the Kingdom. Project Dance made it much easier to get connected to them.”
McWilliams is going into her junior year at PBA, and she plans on opening a dance studio in Houston, Texas, with her mom – they are going to name it The Moves School. She discussed her experience at Project Dance New York and said she left feeling refreshed and inspired by all the ways she witnessed God at work.
“We were dancing on this huge stage in Times Square with a message and a mission, trying to reach people through the gospel. In the middle of it all, you could hear the sirens and the horns and people talking, but at the same time, it felt like there were moments of quiet and stillness because everybody who passed by was completely drawn in,” she said. “It was a moment I will never forget.”
To learn more about PBA’s dance programs, click here.