2/6/17 O&A NYC DANCE: The Dance Of The Village Elders is back!

The Dance Of The Village Elders is back! The fitness, exercise and dance program for senior adults resumed classes in Harlem on Thursday February 2nd from 2pm to 3:30pm at St. Philip’s Episcopal Church, 204 West 134th Street. Class will be held on Thursday afternoons and run through the end of June. Dance Of The Village Elders classes are free to the public.

The program, which successfully resided at Harlem Hospital from 2010, was forced to suspend operations in June of 2015. “In 2015 the program had been on a roll for over a year”, states program director Walter Rutledge. “The classes had a robust following, we had built a committed base of participants, and the performing ensemble had started to develop a reputation and an enthusiastic audience base throughout the Harlem community and beyond. Then the music stopped”.

This was especially ironic because the “Ladies” had culminated their season with a sold out concert, which raised money for both the Dance Of The Village Elders and the Harlem Hospital Auxiliary. Despite these efforts without financial commitments from our sponsoring organizations the program became another causality of the proverbial “dream deferred”, or to re-paraphrase Sean Puffy Combs, “No money mo problems”.

In fairness to our sponsors, they pursued additional funding opportunities, but nothing materialized. Now after 18 months of limbo we have decided that money is the least important reason to not mobilize. So in the spirit of African-American scholar and former St. Philip’s parishioner Dr. W.E.B. Du Bois we have decided to determine our own destiny.

St. Philip’s Episcopal Church remains a progressive pillar of the Harlem Community. When we approached the church about our program they embraced it and provided us with a new home. The whole experience has been faith affirming and helped define the difference between stress and faith. Stress is what happens when we seek immediate solutions to our present situations. While faith trusts that it will be resolved in God’s time.

Our first class on Thursday February 2, 2017 was part fitness, part fellowship and 100% family reunion. Two thirds of our class returned after 18 months apart. This was a testament to the bond we have built and continue to nurture. We hope you join us, as we get ready to do great things in the Harlem community.

Dance of the Village Elders are Back!

For more information about how you can become a part of Dance Of The Village Elders contact us at (917) 744- 2601 or online at walterutledge@gmail.com.

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