Bija Beat "Sweat With Soul" Event


Magic happens when like-minded people connect through passion and a common cause.

On Tuesday, January 17th, 50 amazing souls came together to dance with Bija Beat and the Manhattan Youth Ballet (MYB) at Manhattan Movement and Art Center (MMAC), and do good in the process. They experienced the same joyful, energetic approach to dance that is used to inspire thousands of children through National Dance Institute’s (NDI) transformational in-school and after-school programs, and it showed - in their infectious smiles, their laughter and their enthusiasm.

Led by Bija Beat founder and NDI artistic associate Tracy Straus, and accompanied by the lively piano playing of NDI music director Jerry Korman, the group mastered the moves of the class theme, “The 1920’s,” including the Charleston. Think age and previous experience are an issue? Think again. The dancers ranged in age from 8 to 58, and some had never danced before.

If you’re not familiar with the NDI approach and perhaps are saying “I could never do that,” here is how it works. The group learns choreography inspired by a specific decade or theme, with live music from that same era. In the case of our “Sweat With Soul” event, it was The 1920’s. Tracy divided the choreography into four segments, or sequences of steps, A through D, using games to help the dancers to pick up and memorize the steps. She built the dance as she went.

The ‘front’ of the room changed constantly so that no one was left in the back for too long, and we. To promote the joy of mastering the choreography, students repeated the sequence many times, getting a solid cardio workout in the process.

Best of all, proceeds from the event went to help at risk children experience the magic of National Dance Institute (NDI).

“Thank you for such a wonderful event! And there is a buzz! The head of our parent committee mentioned that some parents were too shy but I know we can fix that!

I had some of the advanced students that took your class in my ballet class today and they said how much fun they had and that they were sore! :)

I’m feeling great! It felt good to dance and sweat it out in such a great community of people!
— Erin Fogarty, Director of Programming, MYB

Keep an eye on your inbox for news about our next event at MMAC. We’d love for you to join us!

See the magic for yourself!