top of page

Give the Unforgettable Gift of Dance

Support the May O'Donnell Youth Scholarship Fund
Photo: Jo Chiang

SADC’s programs and culture support

young people and help them to grow into embodied, curious and resourceful humans by focusing on the authentic self as a tool to navigate not only the art of dance, but also life.


We want every young person to access this resource regardless of their family’s economic means and have committed $50,000 to the May O’Donnell Scholarship Fund this year. 


Our goal for our year-end campaign is to raise $25,000, which will support the participation of over 200 Youth Program students.

Thank you for joining us in giving the unforgettable gift of dance!

This fall we spoke to Justin, a former SADC scholarship student. Justin spoke to us about community, expressive capacity and individual growth, all important pillars of his SADC experience:




My name is Justin, and I’m so happy to be able to share my story with another Shawl-Anderson Dance Center (SADC) fan. Quite simply, without SADC my life would look nowhere near what it is today.


I danced at the studio from ages 8 to 18. My experience of SADC is that it is far more than an institution that instills dance technique. It forges communities that extend far beyond the walls of the studio and into the world at large. 


SADC’s approach to dance education is special and deserves to be recognized as such. All too often I hear stories about growing up as a dancer defined by stress, pain, and frustration. Coming from SADC, I was taught from the beginning that dance can be a nurturing practice that prioritizes the dancer.


The unwavering support of my teachers and peers kept me afloat, even when I became aware of the stigma associated with being a male dancer. I was the only boy in nearly all of my classes over those 10 years, and without this tight-knit community, I’m unsure how I ever would have been able to continue. I ultimately owe it to SADC’s egalitarian teaching for keeping me going.


I now rarely think about dance in terms of perfecting steps and gestures, but as a way of relating to my body and communicating with the world around me. I think cultivating this perspective is one of the things that sets SADC apart from other dance studios.


I’ll graduate in May from Columbia University with a double major in dance and biology. Whenever I’m not in class or dancing I’m working in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology developing a treatment for inoperable tumors. Because of my background in dance, it is very important to me that my research does not dehumanize people.


Dance is nothing short of a superpower. It will keep you healthy, perceptive, creative, and communicative. You will learn what it means to listen to your own body. It will serve you well no matter what you decide to do in the future


The SADC scholarship program made my most treasured memories of dance possible. Without financial support, I never would have had the means to take part in the program that introduced me to my closest friends and took my dancing to the next level. If only everyone had something like SADC in their lives, the world would be a whole lot better.

Photos: Tony Nguyen

DONATE via our #GivingTuesday
Facebook Fundraiser

Dec 3 - Dec 31, 2019!
bottom of page