Dance - "Dance is Healing"
“Dance is Healing” (DIH), is a FREE annual workshop, established in December 2018, for dancers living with or without physical and mental challenges and offered by The Paige Fraser Foundation (TPFF). At this annual event, The DIH Spotlight Award is given to promising dancers in recognition of their courage, dedication, perseverance, and energy.
The DIH Spotlight Award aims to motivate and empower dancers to strive for their best effort in the workshop and in all they do in their future endeavors. The DIH Spotlight Award presents the recipient with a $250.00 stipend to continue their studies and promote their achievements in the performing arts and more.
Two dancers are chosen annually by a panel of TPFF board members, and all DIH Spotlight awardees are featured on TPFF’s website, Facebook page and Instagram.
DIH 2022 Spotlight Awardees
Shamiyah has been dancing with Mind-Builders Creative Arts Center since the age of 7. He has done many recital performances since then and has come understand that he loves to dance and is very passionate about it.
Now 12 years old, he still dances with Mind-Builders and has developed the confidence to go to auditions and dance competitions. He auditioned with the Brighton Ballet School in Brooklyn for the Nutcracker 2022 and was chosen for the “Party and Spanish Scene” which he successfully completed at the Kings Theater last November. Shamiyah continues to pursue his dancing life at Mind-Builders and attends any special offers to dance which includes the recent TPFF’s “Dance is Healing” (DIH) intensive workshop.
Shamiyah recently auditioned for School of American Ballet and has visions of dancing on many different stages, especially Lincoln Center and even the Apollo Theater. He watches Ben Vereen, Savion Glover, Gregory Hines and Mikhail Baryshnikov to see true legends of male dancers. Shamiyah is truly focusing now on the ‘world of dancing”. EYES wide open!
Congratulations, Shamiyah on being selected for the 2022 DIH Spotlight Award.
Alexis is 14 years old and started dancing at 6 years old while attending P.S. 41. Her interest in dancing drove her to perform and she has danced several times at her church. Alexis has also taken part in Talent Shows and entered the NY Talent competition program, "All Stars" where she placed second for two consecutive years, 2018 and 2019. She is a Mind-Builders Creative Arts Center Junior Merit Scholar where she has participated in many programs including Karate and dance. In December 2022, she was one of six Mind-Builders' students who "joined the Harlem School of the Art's @harlemettes and opened Radio City's Christmas Spectacular!" The performance at Radio City Music Hall drew praise and enabled Alexis to meet Jennifer Jones, the 1st Black Rockette. In December 2022, Alexis participated in TPFF's annual "Dance is Healing" workshop at Mind-Builders and there we got to see first-hand Alexis outstanding talent and bright future. We shine a spotlight on Alexis Drummond-Spence for outstanding performance and award her TPFF 2023 Spotlight Award.
DIH 2021 Spotlight Awardees
Addison Grace Mouser
Addison Grace Mouser is in high school and a dancer who has been overcoming obstacles to dance due to Vestibular Balance Disorder, Hearing Loss, and many other health issues and surgeries. She became one of the original Ambassadors for Brown Girls Do Ballet at 10 years old which has given her the opportunity to give back to the community. In recent years, she has enjoyed being a Ballet Trainee with Joffrey Ballet and taking classes at The Dallas Conservatory.
Addison has experienced a longer quarantine during the pandemic than most due to being high risk and has been so grateful to Ailey, Lines, Dance Theater of Harlem and B.Moore Dance for continued virtual offerings that still give her the opportunity to safely dance at home.
Addison says: The '"Dance is Healing" workshop was exciting to have a new opportunity and learn from new teachers. The teachers were great and were very sensitive to our needs as well as helping us to push forward. I am thankful for Ms. Paige Fraser's heart as she helps the dance community and brings light to those who may have a dance path that looks a little different at times.
Elizabeth (Lizzie) Adams
Elizabeth (Lizzie) Adams is a 10 year old dancer from Morehead CIty, North Carolina. She dances with Justice Elite Dance Company and is part of their Competition Team. Lizzie currently dances four to five days a week and truly enjoys all styles of dance. One day Lizzie dreams of going to New York City and dancing on Broadway. When she was 5 years old she was diagnosed with Scoliosis and at age 8 she had to start wearing a back brace. Wearing the brace provided many challenges since she had to wear it for 18 hours a day. That meant her brace free time was limited and she always chose to fill that time with dance. Once Lizzie started wearing the back brace her family looked for resources to help with her challenges. That is when we discovered Paige and The Paige Fraser Foundation. Paige has been extremely encouraging and a huge inspiration for Lizzie.
According to Lizzie "Participating in the "Dance is Healing Workshop" was lots of fun. The teachers were so nice and really encouraging. I can't wait to participate next year and learn more!"
DIH 2020 Spotlight Awardees
Janee Murray-Wegman is an 18 year-old dancer from Brooklyn, New York. She currently attends a BFA program at Adelphi University on a full-scholarship. Janee began her study of dance at the age of 14, with training at the Mark Morris Dance Group, Brooklyn Ballet, and Dance Theatre of Harlem on scholarship. Despite having a late start, she has perform in renowned places such as Kings Theatre, La MaMa Theatre, and Lincoln Center. Janee continues to pursue her passion and become a professional dancer. She hopes to give to underrepresented communities by offering programs that expose children to the performing arts.
Participating in the TPFF “Dance is Healing” has been a life changing opportunity for Janee. She states, “I really appreciate this program because it exposed me to different genres of dance. I was reminded why I started dancing and I felt like I was a part of a community that saw me for who I was as an artist. I wasn’t judged by how many years I’ve been dancing. Instead, I was seen by how creative and engaged I was. In addition, each faculty member pushed me out of my comfort zone by challenging me mentally and physically. I can honestly say that my dancing has changed after this workshop!
Hadley Miller has been dancing at her studio, Resha’s School of Dance, just outside of Nashville, since she was 3 years old. She has been in ballet for six years and also enjoys hip hop and jazz. This past Fall, she made her dance studio's competition team and has been training for the past 7 months. She is excited for the competition season to begin and is also looking forward to the recital this summer. Hadley wants to be a dance teacher when she grows up.
As Hadley's mother states, "Hadley was diagnosed with scoliosis a year and a half ago. She immediately wanted to find other dancers that suffered from scoliosis and that is how she found Paige and TPFF. What an encouragement and resource TPFF and Paige have been for Hadley. She was so excited to participate in “Dance is Healing”. She loved having the opportunity to get instruction from some of the best dancers and to know that they may have some of the same physical struggles that she has to endure while dancing. She is looking forward to participating in the “spine series” event with TPFF."
DIH 2019 Spotlight Awardees
Brooklyn Skye Ezekiel
Brooklyn Skye Ezekiel is 10 years old and has been dancing since the age of 2. Her mother, a former Miss New Jersey USA, is one of her many dance instructors at Jazz Unlimited located in Marlton, New Jersey. She is a member of the highly acclaimed Jazz Unlimited Dance Ensemble and has received many scholarships while being on their competition team. Brooklyn also dances at The Rock School for Dance Education in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where she enjoys taking several ballet classes. She takes nine dance classes a week, six of which are ballet. Brooklyn has modeled for different dance costume catalogs, Target, Avon and Toys R Us. She hopes to continue her career as a budding dancer on broadway someday!
"I liked going to Dance is Healing because it was so nice to see other brown dancers and dancers with special needs. It felt good to look around the room and see other dancers that looked like me and had hair like me."
Zoe Anna Tsourounakis
Zoe Anna Tsourounakis was born on July 7, 1991. She was born with Down Syndrome. Finding a dance studio was not easy as four studios turned down Zoe due to her disability. Zoe began her dancing “career” at the age of 4 (1995) at Deneille’s Dance Studio in Woodhaven, NY with her two older sisters.
Miss Deneille looked past the disability seeing the challenge but accepting and loving every child. Zoe enjoyed tap, ballet, jazz, hip hop and belly dancing for the next 12 years when the studio closed. She participated in the yearly spring recitals and in various special productions and street fairs in Queens.
Zoe continues to love to dance and was thrilled to be included in Dance is Healing. “ I liked this…I liked it a lot”.
DIH 2018 Spotlight Awardees
Omarion Burke is a 16 year old singer/dancer/actor from the Bronx, New York. He’s always had a love for the arts since he was a young child. His earlier training began at Mind Builders Creative Arts Center , Harlem School of The Arts, and Broadway Dreams Foundation. He is currently a junior at the Professional Performing Arts School and is a scholarship student at The Ailey School. He is also a member of the MOVE(NYC) Young Professionals Program and Tada Youth Theater Resident Youth Ensemble. Omarion has accomplished a lot in just a few years. He has performed in two off broadway shows, the rival musical of “Alice in Wonderland” at the Players Theater, and was featured in a music video entitled “Good Morning.” Omarion was a backup dancer for Paula Abdul, performed at Radio City Music Hall, danced at Lincoln Center twice, and recently danced in the 93rd annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
Omarion’s experience at TPFF “Dance is Healing” was unlike anything he’s ever done. He states, “ I love coming back to participate in “Dance is Healing” because when I’m there, I forget about all of my troubles and hardships and I leave them at the door, and walk into the space ready to be rejuvenated. Dance is an escape for me not only during this program but throughout my life. Dance has guided me and helped me through so many troubling and stressful times in my life, and so there needs to be additional programs like Dance is Healing because dance is therapeutic and it allows me experience dance more from the inside out, almost leaving your body to come back to it, a new being.”
Eden Arrington Mouzone
Eden Arrington Mouzone is a pre-professional prep dance student at Harlem School of the Arts. Ballet Student at New American Youth Ballet. Eden aspires to be a professional dancer. She is a 12 year old homeschooler that will be in the 7th grade. She likes to cook for fun and loves pets.
“Dance is Healing“ helps me to dance out all my anxiety. It is a lot of fun. I advise people to attend to this workshop. I love Ms. Paige. Her career is successful and she is always there for me.