Joann Ferrara, a pediatric physical therapist, was inspired to make the dancing dreams of children come true when one day a little girl with cerebral palsy in a tiara and tutu said simply, “I wish I could be a dancer but nobody wants me.”

Dancing Dreams has grown from five girls to over ninety boys and girls who dance with us at weekly classes at our two sites. Classes are adapted so each child can participate to the best of his or her own unique ability. Our annual performance, complete with sets and numerous costume changes, is a highlight for our dancers and their families. We do not charge admission to this celebration of achievement. Weekly classes are held in two locations: Bayside, Queens and Manhattan.

Dancing Dreams is a 501 ( c) 3 nonprofit. We rely on charitable contributions to sustain our program.

Dancing Dreams has been featured on The Today Show, The Meredith Vieira Show, NBC, and ABC and in Ladies Home Journal, The New York Times, and People Magazine. Check out our Video and News Centre

Ballerina Dreams, a book about the program, was published in 2007 by Macmillian. It has been designated a notable book by the American Library Association. To purchase the book, click here

What do they do in the class?

They dance! Each aspiring dancer has a Helper to assist the dancer during classes and performances. More than 130 teens are currently enrolled in our Leadership Program.

Each year culminates in our Annual Performance- our celebration of achievement.

Who can enroll and where are classes?

Any child who is physically or medically challenged with a dream to dance!

Dancing Dreams is based on abilities—not disabilities. This allows each dancer to advance within his or her own limits and maximize their own potential. Dancers come from all over the tristate region to participate in weekly classes at our Bayside, Queens and Manhattan locations.

How much does it cost?

There is a voluntary contribution for classes to help cover the cost of the program. However, no child is ever turned away for an inability to pay. There is never a charge to join us at our annual performance.

Click here to view our videos and galleries

Joann Ferrara, PT
Pediatric Physical Therapist,
Dancing Dreams Founder

Patricia Hassett-Ribaudo
Partner, Wellington Sterling Consulting;
former chief-of-staff, Office of the Dean,
Columbia University,
Mailman School of Public Health

Valerie Rowe, PhD
Ph.D., Clinical Professor, School of Education,
Fordham University (retired)

Mindy Schneider

Cathleen C. Trautwig, Esq.

Jacqueline M. Wasp

Kathleen Downes Performing

Kathleen Downes

Kathleen Downes, Dancing Dreams alumnus and 2015 graduate of the University of Illinois, performed a solo dance at our performance to her original essay, “Thursday’s Dreamers.”

As a young woman born with severe cerebral palsy, I never would have guessed that dancing was in the cards for me. However, joining this great group of people was instantly captivating and soon, I embraced the arts in a new capacity ordinarily assumed to be reserved for my non-disabled peers… Most of us have never walked a step, but every Thursday, we dance, learning about expression beyond a pre-conceived notion of “the perfect body."
Jenifer Ringer New York City Ballet

Jenifer Ringer

Former Principal Dancer New York City Ballet, Artistic Consultant Dancing Dreams

I have had a relationship with Dancing Dreams for several years now. It began when I attended one of their performances and saw the joy beaming from the dancers on stage. Girls of all ages were overcoming their disabilities, defying the world's expectations, and performing on stage before their family and friends. The dancers' spirits were shining like bright lights as they moved to the music. I have rarely been so moved by a performance.