If you’ve ever watched a Broadway musical, dance company performance, or dance TV show, chances are you’ve seen at least one New York City Dance Alliance alum at work. NYCDA excels at helping dancers naturally transfer their competition and convention experiences into the professional industry. Their not-so-secret key to success? Years of relationship-building and community outreach by founder and director Joe Lanteri, a leader in the New York City dance world who’s cultivated an unparalleled network of dance organizations, studios, college programs, and mentors. At NYCDA, everyone on staff has the same goal: to invest in the next generation of dancers. And with its 30th-anniversary tour kicking off this fall, that investment is looking grander than ever.
A Path to College
One of the core values of NYCDA is education, and the NYC Dance Alliance Foundation college scholarship program is the backbone of this mission. Every year at Nationals, NYCDA dancers have the opportunity to be recruited by the most prestigious dance programs in the nation, including Pace University, Marymount Manhattan College, Point Park University, and more. Between the Foundation and its college partners, more than $15 million in scholarships were awarded to NYCDA dancers in both 2021 and 2022, with even more expected this coming season.
NYCDA Foundation monies can be utilized at the college of the dancer’s choice. Annual top choices for NYCDA dancers include The Juilliard School and the University of Southern California, in addition to its college partners.
More Than Just a Convention
Unique professional opportunities abound for dancers thanks to NYCDA’s network. At each of NYCDA’s regional conventions, dancers connect with world-renowned faculty, and dozens of scholarships are awarded to professional training programs, including Steps on Broadway, Broadway Dance Center, Complexions Contemporary Ballet, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, and more. “These scholarships allow many young dancers to take their first steps outside the convention world and begin to build their professional dance network,” says Lanteri.
The end-of-season events bring even more exposure. “Our annual National experience is elevated far beyond a typical dance convention,” says Lanteri. “We offer dancers the opportunity to work with Tony and Emmy Award–winning choreographers, artistic directors of companies like Complexions and Ballets Jazz Montréal, casting directors, and talent agents.”
30 Years of Growth
Starting this October, NYCDA’s 30th-anniversary season is set to be an over-the-top celebration where all are welcome. “We are always excited to expand our dance family, and we pride ourselves in treating all studios equally, whether attending with a company of five dancers or 95,” Lanteri explains. The convention is expanding its roster of regional cities to reach students in more places, including a second Nationals, in Phoenix, Arizona, in addition to its iconic New York City event.
A Community That Cares
More than anything, NYCDA considers its success in terms of its alumni, who often return to NYCDA to share their knowledge and professional experiences as faculty, guest teachers, and judges. From New York City Ballet to Hamilton to Nederlands Dans Theater, hundreds of professionals have used opportunities and connections from NYCDA to jumpstart their careers. In fact, the recent Broadway revival of Bob Fosse’s DANCIN’ featured 11 dancers representing three decades of NYCDA alumni. “I am proud that we remain rooted in the professional dance community, continuing to nurture and support our dancers long after they have left the convention/competition environment,” Lanteri says. “Beyond working to elevate the level of dance, we hope to shape a professional mindset that can be applied for success in any field.”