Queens United Golden Lionesses Perform at City Hall for Inaugural Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration

When a group of talented and hardworking middle-school girls combine a strong social conscience with a passion for dance, amazing things happen. Back in October, the Golden Lionesses of The Child Center of NY’s SONYC Queens United afterschool program performed a dance focused on the theme of “broken homes” at our Second Annual Lights on Afterschool event.

In attendance were representatives from Assemblywoman Alicia Hyndman’s office and Councilman Donovan Richards’ office.

It was the girls’ first public performance ever.

Shortly after the event, staff members of Councilman Donovan Richards’ office expressed how much they enjoyed the dance team’s performance and their ability to tie in a very important cause with their craft — and they invited the Golden Lionesses to perform at the first-ever Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Day at City Hall, presented by the Councilman’s office.

Working with staff members Davaisia Phillips and Tabatha Ferrer, the middle-schoolers decided to perform a contemporary piece highlighting different emotions attached to the civil rights movement. They dedicated a significant portion of their afterschool hours to practicing and perfecting their dance.

When the day finally arrived, the girls “had a thousand different emotions,” says Program Director Shantryce Hare. “They were anxious, nervous, excited, happy, and appreciative.”

The Golden Lionesses were the only dance troupe to perform that day.

And their delivery showed that they had earned the distinction. The show went off without a hitch, as their moves were perfectly executed and the message of the piece came through clearly and movingly (you can see for yourself in the clip above).

The experience was an important one for the girls not only because they got to perform in front of politicians, including Councilman Richards and Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, as well as news reporters there to cover the event, but also because they got the chance to interact with them.

“It was incredible for their self-esteem,” says Hare. “They worked all year long to use dance as a form of expressing powerful messages that are important to our youth community. They had lost a competition, but then this opportunity opened up.”

Hare added that most of the Lionesses are sixth- and seventh-graders. “Most children that age, faced with a new school and different challenges to navigate, aren’t ready to change and empower the world,” she explains. “But these girls are dedicated and get their message across. They are truly grateful to perform their passion across multiple channels, and it is an honor for me to lead a team of such wonderful young women.”

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