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Natural Awakenings New York City

Fundraiser Helps Launch Dance Program For Children with Special Needs

A. Gavrilov Dance disabledTwo years ago, Alexey Gavrilov, founder of Gavrilov Dance, met a 9-year-old Seattle girl with a physical disability and a seemingly impossible dream: she wanted to learn ballroom dance. Although he worried about her limitations, Gavrilov took her on as a student, beginning with the simplest of concepts: “Listen to the music, and move.” Three months later, the girl’s dream was fulfilled. She danced on stage for the first time, and her 200-person audience gave her a standing ovation.

Now Gavrilov has a dream of his own: to provide a similar opportunity to children with special needs in New Jersey and New York. The ballroom dance program would be patterned on ones he’s established in Seattle and Orange County, California.

An inaugural benefit, “Speechless,” will be held May 16 from 7 to 9 p.m. at Hudson Dance Studio to help fund and raise awareness of the program launch. With views of the Manhattan skyline, the studio is just over the Hudson River, accessible by the NY Waterway-Edgwater Ferry Landing stop. Gavrilov says he hopes to help children from both sides of the river reach their creative dreams.

“Every child is special and an artist,” he says. “The question is, how do we nurture the artist in children with disabilities? How do we provide them with the skills and opportunities to develop to their utmost potential while keeping their spirits alive? Dance. Dance creates community. Dance focuses on the ability of the individual rather than on the disability. I am committed to creating a dance studio dedicated to serving these amazing children, a place that encourages them to overcome their fears, a place where they develop and strengthen their mind and body while discovering the artist in themselves.”

Anyone interested in learning about the program or assisting with its launch or the May 16 fundraiser should contact Gavrilov at 201-446-2763. For full details about the fundraiser, visit