Coast 2 Coast: Dance Across America has helped celebrate National Dance Week since 2014 – it is NDWF’s pleasure to introduce them to you!
3 National Tours, 37 States, 55+ Dance Studios, Thousands of Dancers
When covering our visit to Misty’s Dance unlimited in Onalaska, Wisconsin this year, ABC News Anchor Heather Armstrong said it the best; “Take a dancer, a DJ, and an illusionist and you’ve Coast 2 Coast; A trio of professionals who give up two weeks of work to volunteer their time touring the country, to instill hope in dance students. The message is very clear… If you love something pursue it with passion and Never Give Up!”
By 2016, Coast 2 Coast: Dance Across America has successfully completed its 3rd National Tour, visited 37 States and over 55 Dance Studios, and our inspirational message to “Never Give Up” has reached thousands of dancers and their families each year. Combined, New York City and Los Angeles, California make up approximately 808 square miles. Although they are the “biggest” cities in America, what about the other 3.8 million square miles this great nation has to offer? What the Coast 2 Coast Crew hears most often from studio owners is how happy they were for a “big time” tour to stop in their little town. Of course we’ve taught our Master Classes at places like Debbie Reynolds Dance Studio in Hollywood or at the Abby Lee Dance Company in Pittsburgh—but we try and visit places where dancers may not have the opportunity to take this type of class otherwise. From being the “first Master Class in town” in the beautiful mountains of Rawlins, Wyoming (which happened to be covered in a foot of snow in May) to “Small Town USA” Chadron, Nebraska—where they have to travel hours to attend any other dance conventions, even the small coastal town of Lewes, Delaware to the deserts of “The Silver State,” Elko, Nevada—this country has something special to offer in every nook and cranny. Throughout the tour we see differences in climate, terrain, food, religion, politics, and people—but the one thing that connects these people is their love and passion for the arts and dance. It doesn’t matter if you’re big or small, tall or short, the color of your skin or the brand of your clothes—dance knows no barriers and everyone deserves the chance to do what they truly love in life.
Each year, 501(c)3 Non-Profit, Coast 2 Coast: Dance Across America, embarks on a week-long tour. The C2C Crew consists of Choreographer Louie Perez, Executive Director and tour speaker/DJ Jimmy Lyles, and Illusionist Ryan Dutcher… who all believe in one thing; motivating and inspiring the youth of America to pursue what they truly love. The annual National Tour consists of a one-hour master dance class that is free of charge to both the
students and studios nationwide, but isn’t just about dance. The C2C crew is committed to “paying-it-forward” and we use the dance world as our outlet. Not only does this tour promote the health and fitness side of dance, but it also encompasses the ideals of persistence, perseverance, passion, and positivity. The tour proves that ordinary people can achieve extraordinary things. Students learn that no dream is too large or small—you can do absolutely anything you set your mind to, as long as you work hard.
Since 2014, the national tour has taken place during National Dance Week—helping to spread the message of the foundation and bring a spotlight on this celebration of what we all love. After students participate in the Master Class, they are eligible to apply for dance scholarships, which help pay their tuition at their home studios across the country.This year, the 2016 $1000 Grand Prize Dance Scholarship was awarded to Taylor Pannett from Michele Dance Studio in Weirton, West Virginia, $500 was awarded to Shauna Brittingham from Coastal Dance Academy in Lewes, Delaware, and $250 was awarded to Jamie Workman from Utah Dance Artists in Draper, Utah. Thanks to the support of The Nifty Thrifty Shop in Fishkill, New York—The C2C Crew was able to add an additional $500 “Pay-it-Forward” Scholarship to Madison Crineri from VP Dance Academy in Fishkill, New York—which is set up to thank the local New York dance community for helping to fund the entire program.
Being that National Dance Week is only 10 days long, it doesn’t leave us much time to visit 16+ dance studios. Although we teach at multiple dance studios in multiple states each day, we make sure to experience the culture and history of the areas we visit. The 2016 National Tour took the Coast 2 Coast Dance Crew to Mount Rushmore in South Dakota, we danced at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC at 2am on a Saturday morning, we visited the boyhood home and museum of Meredith Wilson (and got to see his Grammy for his show ‘The Music Man,’) and we even got the help make professional baseball bats at the Louisville Slugger factory in Kentucky!
What makes Coast 2 Coast: Dance Across America the most unique Master Class tour in the country is that participation is free of charge to students and studios nationwide. We don’t think that money should be what gives dancers this opportunity; we think that dedication and passion are what’s important. This was all started because our Choreographer, Louie Perez, was given the opportunity (by his first dance teacher, Patsy Metzger) to mop the floors of Debbie Reynolds Dance Studio in North Hollywood, California when he could no longer afford lessons. Our mission is to bring the dance world together and inspire everyone to “Pay-it-Forward” in their own way. Not only does this tour promote the health and fitness side of dance, but it also encompasses the ideals of persistence, perseverance, passion, and positivity. The tour proves that ordinary people can achieve extraordinary things and students learn that no dream is too large or small—you can do absolutely anything you set your mind to, as long as you work hard.
Thankfully, we have been able to successfully run this program since 2014 solely off of donations, sponsorships, and fundraising. Since others in the dance community feel so strongly about our message—we have been able to remind thousands to “Never Give Up” on their dreams and to pursue their true passion in life. We thank all of the 55+ Dance Studios in 37 States that have participated over the 3 years and we cannot wait to visit all 50 states in 5 years!