"Peridance gives you wings." - Deborah Damast
Deborah Damast is a long-time friend of Peridance. We asked her to share her views on, "What does Peridance mean to you?" Below are her thoughts.
Peridance Capezio Center is different from other studios I've worked with because of its unique sense of community. At its core, Peridance is a place of professionalism and integrity, where aspiring artists and professionals put their dreams into practice.
Peridance has given me immense opportunities to explore dancing, teaching and choreography. I first became involved when I was offered a scholarship. Soon after completing the program, I began teaching, with a small, first class of about 35 students. I've seen the young dancers I worked with blossom into strong, young adults. A student from one of my earliest classes, actually, went on to study dance and graduate at my alma mater, Purchase College!
Yet, even for students who don't become professional dancers, Peridance is a place to gain life skills like self-reliance, discipline, confidence and teamwork.
Since I've been involved with Peridance, it's been supportive of numerous viewpoints. Still, one vision -- that of the founder Igal Perry -- remains. This vision is inclusive of many voices, incorporates diversity and every style of dance/genre. It is a safe and encouraging environment for all people to strive for excellence, achieve their best and really develop as artists. As an instructor, I've also had the privilege of making life-long friends through Peridance...
To me, Peridance has always been an all-encompassing home and family for dancers, teachers and choreographers from various disciplines, and artists from around the world. Its undergone enormous growth throughout the years and its identity, which has been so well grounded, remains intact. Today, I'm proud Peridance is the same non-competitive, nurturing environment I entered as an young, emerging professional, 25 years ago.
DEBORAH DAMAST (MA, Dance Education-NYU: BFA, Dance-SUNY Purchase, DEL certification) Deborah is the Artistic Advisor of the Dance Education Program at NYU Steinhardt and Master Teacher of technique, pedagogy, production, and choreography courses. At NYU she is also Artistic Director of Dance Concerts, the Uganda study abroad program, and of Kaleidoscope Dancers. She has collaborated in many motion pictures and several internet projects. Deborah also teaches early childhood and middle school dance at LREI, and has been on the faculty of Peridance children’s and adult programs, 92nd St. Y, New York City Ballet, The Yard, and others, and has conducted outreach workshops with the Dance in Education Fund, Oregon Ballet Theatre, the 92nd Street, and NYU. Deborah's choreography has been shown in numerous venues in NYC including the Alvin Ailey Citigroup Theatre, Riverside Church, Symphony Space, World Financial Center, Peridance, the Cunningham studio, 92nd Street Y, Judson Church, St. Marks Church, and internationally in Italy, Japan, Korea, and Uganda. She continues to show her choreography in NYC and abroad. Deborah is proud to be affiliated with Peridance since 1988 and to have had the opportunity to study with, learn from, and dance with Igal Perry.
Your turn! Tell us in the comments, "What does Peridance mean to you?
You can still enter to win our Gala Giveaway on Twitter, or by visiting Peridance Capezio Center. Select tickets are still available to the 30th Anniversary Gala, join us!