Dancing 4 Change is the New York-based dance group who dance professionally to help inspire and project an important message to viewers. They are compiled of dancers of all ages putting their moves to good use by creating films
From anti-bullying to the #MeToo movement, nothing is off limits to this group, and because of their passion and charitable work, their videos have been gaining attention with countless celebrities both in and out of the dance world and around New York City!
Broadway actress/dancer/choreographer Kelli Gautreau is leading the Dancing 4 Change group, and she sat down with NYGal for some exclusive Q&As about how she is changing the world and what she loves most about being NY-based!
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Let’s start off with, what do you love most about living in New York?
It’s the city that never sleeps and I never sleep. All jokes aside, I love NYC because there is always something to do. You can go to a museum, a baseball game, and a Broadway show all in the same day.
I love the pulse of the city. I practically live in Times Square so that should say something about me. I like to go go go.
New York has the best food… What local restaurants are your favorite to go to?
I love Vitners. It’s this cheese and sandwich shop on 9th avenue. I love their fondue. It’s beyond delicious. Pio Pio is another favorite. It’s a Peruvian place. It’s all about this green sauce! I also love Totto Ramen!
You dance professionally, but when you want to dance for fun, where do you go?
I love “One on One”. It’s this fun little place that plays great music. If I want to dance it out I go there. I also like to follow “The Gilfords” where ever they are playing. They are a fun cover band.
Being originally from Canada, what drew you to move to the United States, and specifically New York?
I grew up dancing at my mother’s dance studio in Brockville, Ontario. I knew from a very young age that I wanted a career in the arts. When I was 15 years old, I won a
This was my first trip to New York. We stayed at the DoubleTree Hotel in Times Square. There is nothing like NYC. The traffic, the taxis, the honking, the lights, the street performers, the smell of hotdogs, the crowds of people. I loved it all. I fell in
Switching to Dancing 4 Change… Dancing 4 Change has established itself as the top “Dancing Public Service Announcement” group. How did the idea behind this concept come to be?
It all started when I was coming up with a choreography for a group of teenagers at my moms dance studio in Canada. At the time, Robin Williams had just committed suicide and it was all over the news.
It really affected me. I thought to myself, “how could a person who is so funny be so depressed”? The answer I discovered shocked me.
It was at that moment that I decided to choreograph a dance to raise awareness for Mental Illness. The dance performed at many events including 3 dance competitions that year.
After one of the dance
At this meeting, the audience was full of Mental Health experts and teenagers who suffered from mental illness.
After the performance, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. Teens in the audience were hugging my dancers. Adults were wiping their eyes.
It was the audience’s reaction that gave me the inspiration to turn the dance into a short film. I could see how it was affecting people and I wanted to do more.
That was the beginning of Dancing 4 Change. “Dancing Public Service Announcements” is a term I came up with to describe the content of the films. The idea behind the films is this: You can TELL a kid 100 times not to touch a hot stove and they’ll still touch it.
However, if they actually SEE what happens to another kid who touches the hot stove then the outcome is different. There’s no dialogue in our films. The story is told through the medium of dance. We create a visual for the kids to learn from.
What is your ultimate goal with Dancing 4 Change?
Each of our films has a call to action at the end. Ex. “What will you do to help”? Our main goal is to get people thinking. Our ultimate goal is to change the world. Is that too big a goal?
What is your advice to other women wanting to pursue their own careers and passions in New York?
It’s a big city but the business is small. You will run into the same people over and over again. Work hard. Show up prepared and ready to work. Never be late. Always be respectful. Never burn a bridge. Love what you do. Believe in yourself. Never stop training. Never give up.
Todrick Hall, Corey Feldman & Abby Lee Miller all have supported Dancing 4 Change… how does that make you feel?
I am honestly at a loss for words any time someone asks me this question. I am truly honored that they took the time to recognize the work that we are doing.
I am a huge fan of all 3 of them and I am inspired by their work. I know what we are doing is important. It’s hard work but the support of others fuels me to keep going.
What are your hopes for Dancing 4 Change in 2019 and beyond?
We are the creators of dancing public service announcements. I want to see this platform used on a large scale where more kids can benefit from our messages. I believe in the power of dance and music. I’d like to see Dancing 4 Change be a movement that changes people for the better.
And final question for you: Do you think if world leaders learned to dance more, it would make the world a better place?
Of course! Anyone can benefit from learning how to dance. It is scientifically proven that dance elevates your mood and releases stress. I train my dancers to use dance as a way to escape.
Whether you are watching a performance or dancing in class, it can be cathartic.
Follow Kelli and Dancing 4 Change at their website: http://dancing4change.com