Dancing Dreams started as a dream…
The dream of little girls to put on a tutu and glitter—and dance just like other little girls their age. Despite their dreams, these girls were not able to dance like their friends, sisters, cousins and even their mothers. They had physical and medical challenges that prevented them from joining classes in their community.
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 current 130 girls and boys. Classes are adapted so each child can participate to the best of his or her own unique ability. Our annual performance, complete with elaborate 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 three locations: Bayside (Queens), Upper East Side (Manhattan), and Plainview (Long Island).
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. Over 180 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), Upper East Side (Manhattan), and Plainview (Long Island) 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.
Board of Directors
Joann Ferrara, PT
Pediatric Physical Therapist,
Dancing Dreams Founder, Executive Director
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)
Cathleen C. Trautwig, Esq.
Jacqueline M. Wasp