Rivertown Dance Academy was founded in 2016 by Tarrytown native Jessica Horgan with the purpose of making dance accessible to all. To ensure this, the day the academy opened, Horgan immediately applied for non-profit status. The academy has a multitude of class options for both the youth and adult communities, and currently has 200 students enrolled.
Similar to other organizations across the country, the pandemic had a large impact on Rivertown Dance Academy. The academy lost a significant number of students during the pandemic’s peak but is now back stronger than ever. There are Biannual Open House events that offer an informal performance at the Tarrytown Music Hall where prospective students and families can stop by to check out what the academy has to offer.
It is Horgan’s goal to hit every area of dance for her students. There are year-round workshops offered for both children and adults, in addition to the different dance groups that require auditions to join.
The academy puts on one formal performance known as the RDA Festival. Ten weeks of rehearsals are put into this performance that spans three days at the Tarrytown Music Hall.
The Rivertown Dance Academy has given out close to $200,000 in financial aid to students since its opening.
To make the academy’s “accessible dance for all” mission possible, there are several fundraising events organized per year, with the main event happening this February. Rivertown Dance Academy’s annual Frost Fest Gala, which is the largest contributor to the financial aid program. The gala will take place at 4 p.m. Feb. 5 at the Tarrytown Music Hall. Tickets for adults are $100, which includes a tasting menu, performances, and an open bar. Tickets for those under 21 are $50 and include everything the adult ticket has to offer except the open bar.
At the event, there are performances by professional guests and students of the academy. There are live auctions for scholarship funds, with a live dance party afterward. Each year, the Rivertown Dance Academy honors a guest, and this year the honoree is photographer Kent Miller of Kent Miller Studios.
Horgan, the executive director of Rivertown Dance Academy, explains her current and future goals for the academy. “Part of our mission right now is financial assistance for those who need it. We really want to branch out. Our goals for the next three to five years are to also be able to offer programming for disabled individuals and elderly individuals,” she said.
Visit www.rivertowndanceacademy.org to purchase tickets for the Frost Fest Gala or for more information about the Rivertown Dance Academy.
All photos by Kent Miller Photography