Dance is Healing
Spotlight Award Recipients
“Dance is Healing” (DIH), is a FREE annual workshop, established in December 2018, for dancers living with or without physical and mental challenges and offered by The Paige Fraser Foundation (TPFF). At this annual event, The DIH Spotlight Award is given to promising dancers in recognition of their courage, dedication, perseverance, and energy.
The DIH Spotlight Award aims to motivate and empower dancers to strive for their best effort in the workshop and in all they do in their future endeavors. The DIH Spotlight Award presents the recipient with a $250.00 stipend to continue their studies and promote their achievements in the performing arts and more.
Two dancers are chosen annually by a panel of TPFF board members, and all DIH Spotlight awardees are featured on TPFF’s website, Facebook page and Instagram.
Janee Murray-Wegman is an 18 year-old dancer from Brooklyn, New York. She currently attends a BFA program at Adelphi University on a full-scholarship. Janee began her study of dance at the age of 14, with training at the Mark Morris Dance Group, Brooklyn Ballet, and Dance Theatre of Harlem on scholarship. Despite having a late start, she has perform in renowned places such as Kings Theatre, La MaMa Theatre, and Lincoln Center. Janee continues to pursue her passion and become a professional dancer. She hopes to give to underreprented communities by offering programs that expose children to the performing arts.
Participating in the TPFF “Dance is Healing” has been a life changing opportunity for Janee. She states, “I really appreciate this program because it exposed me to different genres of dance. I was reminded why I started dancing and I felt like I was a part of a community that saw me for who I was as an artist. I wasn’t judged by how many years I’ve been dancing. Instead, I was seen by how creative and engaged I was. In addition, each faculty member pushed me out of my comfort zone by challenging me mentally and physically. I can honestly say that my dancing has changed after this workshop!
Hadley Miller has been dancing at her studio, Resha’s School of Dance, just outside of Nashville, since she was 3 years old. She has been in ballet for six years and also enjoys hip hop and jazz. This past Fall, she made her dance studio's competition team and has been training for the past 7 months. She is excited for the competition season to begin and is also looking forward to the recital this summer. Hadley wants to be a dance teacher when she grows up.
As Hadley's mother states, "Hadley was diagnosed with scoliosis a year and a half ago. She immediately wanted to find other dancers that suffered from scoliosis and that is how she found Paige and TPFF. What an encouragement and resource TPFF and Paige have been for Hadley. She was so excited to participate in “Dance is Healing”. She loved having the opportunity to get instruction from some of the best dancers and to know that they may have some of the same physical struggles that she has to endure while dancing. She is looking forward to participating in the “spine series” event with TPFF."
Zoe Anna Tsourounakis was born on July 7, 1991. She was born with Down Syndrome. Finding a dance studio was not easy as four studios turned down Zoe due to her disability. Zoe began her dancing “career” at the age of 4 (1995) at Deneille’s Dance Studio in Woodhaven, NY with her two older sisters.
Miss Deneille looked past the disability seeing the challenge but accepting and loving every child. Zoe enjoyed tap, ballet, jazz, hip hop and belly dancing for the next 12 years when the studio closed. She participated in the yearly spring recitals and in various special productions and street fairs in Queens.
Zoe continues to love to dance and was thrilled to be included in Dance is Healing. “ I liked this…I liked it a lot”.
Brooklyn Skye Ezekiel is 10 years old and has been dancing since the age of 2. Her mother, a former Miss New Jersey USA, is one of her many dance instructors at Jazz Unlimited located in Marlton, New Jersey. She is a member of the highly acclaimed Jazz Unlimited Dance Ensemble and has received many scholarships while being on their competition team. Brooklyn also dances at The Rock School for Dance Education in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where she enjoys taking several ballet classes. She takes nine dance classes a week, six of which are ballet. Brooklyn has modeled for different dance costume catalogs, Target, Avon and Toys R Us. She hopes to continue her career as a budding dancer on broadway someday!
"I liked going to Dance is Healing because it was so nice to see other brown dancers and dancers with special needs. It felt good to look around the room and see other dancers that looked like me and had hair like me."
Omarion Burke is a 16 year old singer/dancer/actor from the Bronx, New York. He’s always had a love for the arts since he was a young child. His earlier training began at Mind Builders Creative Arts Center , Harlem School of The Arts, and Broadway Dreams Foundation. He is currently a junior at the Professional Performing Arts School and is a scholarship student at The Ailey School. He is also a member of the MOVE(NYC) Young Professionals Program and Tada Youth Theater Resident Youth Ensemble. Omarion has accomplished a lot in just a few years. He has performed in two off broadway shows, the rival musical of “Alice in Wonderland” at the Players Theater, and was featured in a music video entitled “Good Morning.” Omarion was a backup dancer for Paula Abdul, performed at Radio City Music Hall, danced at Lincoln Center twice, and recently danced in the 93rd annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
Omarion’s experience at TPFF “Dance is Healing” was unlike anything he’s ever done. He states, “ I love coming back to participate in “Dance is Healing” because when I’m there, I forget about all of my troubles and hardships and I leave them at the door, and walk into the space ready to be rejuvenated. Dance is an escape for me not only during this program but throughout my life. Dance has guided me and helped me through so many troubling and stressful times in my life, and so there needs to be additional programs like Dance is Healing because dance is therapeutic and it allows me experience dance more from the inside out, almost leaving your body to come back to it, a new being.”
Eden Arrington Mouzone is a pre-professional prep dance student at Harlem School of the Arts. Ballet Student at New American Youth Ballet. Eden aspires to be a professional dancer. She is a 12 year old homeschooler that will be in the 7th grade. She likes to cook for fun and loves pets.
“Dance is Healing“ helps me to dance out all my anxiety. It is a lot of fun. I advise people to attend to this workshop. I love Ms. Paige. Her career is successful and she is always there for me.