Performing Hearts

In a perfect world, every child would be healthy with opportunities to pursue their dreams, including their dreams in the arts. Unfortunately, our world includes many children who are living with special needs -- making these dreams very difficult to realize. Performing Hearts provides opportunities for these children to enjoy the art of dance -- first-hand with their peers and with others who have committed their time and talent to help Performing Hearts with its cause.

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Performing Hearts provides weekly, dance facility-based ‘creative movement’ and tap and ballet classes — hosted by The Dance Academy of North Jersey — for children from Morris, Sussex and surrounding counties. Performing Hearts also provides similar classes for children under the care of organizations serving children with special needs. The following videos include the children of Performing Hearts performing in their annual recitals:

Performing Hearts Creative Movement Dancers
“Popcorn Calling Me” (2018)

Performing Hearts Tap Dancers
“Candy Man” (2018)

Performing Hearts Creative Movement Dancers
“You Are My Sunshine” (2017)

Performing Hearts Tap Dancers
“Fly Me To The Moon” (2017)

Performing Hearts Creative Movement Dancers
“The Happy Dance” (2016)

Performing Hearts Tap Dancers
“Locomotion” (2016)

Performing Hearts Creative Movement Dancers
“Body Rock” (2015)

Performing Hearts Ballet Dancers
“What A Wonderful World” (2015)

Performing Hearts Creative Movement Dancers
“Clap For Love” (2014)

Performing Hearts Creative Movement Dancers
“Scarf Dance” (2013)

Performing Hearts Creative Movement Dancers (2012)

Performing Hearts Creative Movement Dancers
Video Tribute (2011)

Performing Hearts has been enabling children with special needs to enjoy dance for more than fifteen years. The dancers who collaborated to launch Performing Hearts in 2000, described their mission as follows:

“We started Performing Hearts initially as a "tzedakah" (doing good things) project. We wanted to spend time with the people who we sometimes might, unintentionally, be forgetting - in particular, people who might otherwise feel left out in a kind of "personal wilderness." We chose to focus on the many children stricken with terrible illnesses and disabilities. When we initially reached out to our friends with the idea behind Performing Hearts, we received a tremendous response. We spent several months planning for our first major event. We were obviously very anxious as the day approached........Well it turned out to be a major success! We visited Camp Happy Times in Tyler Hill, Pennsylvania. Camp Happy Times is a camp for kids who are battling cancer and blood disorders. They host approximately 200 children ranging in age from 5 to 20. The camp is run by The Valerie Fund. We recognize the Valerie Fund and the Camp Happy Times leadership for having the courage to give us the opportunity to share in their wonderful gift. From our experiences, we have learned that helping other people is important. It might take a lot of your time but it is not hard to do, and it is a lot of fun and rewarding. We believe that Performing Hearts is about doing the right things and we are committed to keeping it going."

Since 2010, Performing Hearts has been providing regular weekly creative movement, ballet and tap classes, in its permanent home provided by
The Dance Academy of North Jersey!

Performing Hearts volunteers have learned that:

  • We can make a difference in our communities
  • We are lucky to be able to give to others
  • Our friends and families will help us
  • We all live in the midst of those we can help
  • Anything we do, no matter how small, has a positive impact
  • We will have fun along the way

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The State of New Jersey, in a Joint Legislative Resolution of the Senate and General Assembly, formally recognized the contributions that Performing Hearts and its founders have made to the State and its people. The resolution was adopted in connection with Performing Hearts being recognized as the state-wide winner of the coveted Spirit of Community Award. The Spirit of Community awards program is sponsored by The Prudential Insurance Company of America. Performing Hearts was among over 23,000 entries representing all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Two winners were selected from each state and Performing Hearts was honored as a winner from the State of New Jersey. National and State recognition events were held in Washington, D.C. and Trenton, New Jersey. Award recipients were addressed by Madeline Albright, former Secretary of State, Miss America, Senator Corzine and many others.