When you first walk in to SWDY, the immediate feeling is that you've walked into a home, not an individual's home but one that belongs to the entire community. There are recently abandoned toys on the floor and a fort built on one of the plush couches by whichever child happened to be around. Behind the desk is the friendly face of someone who may work or volunteer at SWDY or who is perhaps just frequently around and happens to be chipping in at the moment. That spirit of flexibility and contribution is one of the key components of making SWDY feel the way that it does - people stick around just because and in the process they have a hand in building a home for the community. To your left you'll see the open, airy dance room that also hosts Tai Chi and mindful drawing followed by two more rooms for dance, yoga, and massage - all clean, comfortable, and relaxing.
Last Friday though, well that was something special. SWDY had an anniversary party and fundraising gala but really it was a formal version of what SWDY does every day: a celebration of the community. With some places you go, that sense of community is reserved for staff and regular attendees but at SWDY community is inclusive. If you've been to SWDY then you're part of the community. Period.
The gala started with delicious food – homemade chicken and rice and everything home-like - and good company dressed to impress. As the night progressed we gathered at the bottom of the stairs to experience the unveiling of SWDY's new mural. Jacqueline Comrie Garrido (jcomriearts.com) came down from Toronto to create a piece full of movement and color and symbolic of moving from a space of darkness up the stairs to an increasingly light space with free-floating energy and unmistakable positivity. Following the unveiling were a series of performances by the incredibly talented instructors. We started with salsa by Rodney Lopez and Jodi Morales, that was smooth and natural, bharathanatyam by Anisha Gupta that told a story through beautiful and incredibly controlled movements, Egyptian belly dance and samba by Nyota Nayo and a crew of student dancers that was playful and lively, a modern and pole dance combination by Aya Saotome, Aya Clarke, and Tarzan that was a sexy and powerful demonstration of strength and grace, tap by Roosevelt Nettles that was simply mesmerizing, singing by Rosangelica, locally known as Bronxinian, solidly rooted in the Bronx's hip hop history, and a lively intersection between hip hop and capoeira led by Bronx Capoeira and the Revolutionary Roots of Capoeira Concepts crew and, and hip hop historian and dancer, Deena Clemente to round out an inspiring and youthful celebration of movement.
Throughout the night, Yosara (studio owner extraordinaire) and the cast of performers highlighted the importance of wellness in the community. They weren't talking about the half-hearted city government attempts to address the abysmal health indices in the Bronx but a real, heartfelt struggle from the community itself. This more than anything was the night's take-away: we're doing this and we're doing it for ourselves.
As usual, SWDY events are a community affair displaying some of the best the Bronx has to offer. Our deepest thanks go out to the good folk that made and donated the delicious fare served at the gala:
· M&M Day Care owner, Milagros Carbajal, donated the scrumptious Chicken Wings 4 Ways served at the event which was made by her sister Gladys Holness. For those of you who asked, YES! Gladys does take catering orders! Look for her information on our Facebook page for future orders!
· A MILLION THANK YOU’s to the generous Gentlemen up the block at Bronx Drafthouse for keeping their philanthropy as local as their brand! Alfredo and Junior generously donated all the wine served that evening. Please be sure to thank them by dropping by the Drafthouse for some of their delicious bites and diverse selection of brews and spirits!
· To our entrepreneuring brothers from another spirit at Port Morris Distillery, THANK YOU for once again supporting our Gala! The Pitorro was PROUDLY on deck again for our celebration keeping our mouths coquito happy and our spirits high! Please be sure to visit their tasting room and join them for any of the lovely events held at their newly expanded location. The parking is as plentiful as the comradery! Show them love! And don’t forget to pick up a couple of bottles of Pitorro! Keep it on deck for the upcoming holiday season!
· Thanks to Michael & Vanessa at Verde Flowers for the love and assistance with the gorgeous blossoms decking the SWDY halls! YOU INSPIRE US! If you haven’t yet visited, be sure to check out their inspired and gorgeous show room on the corner of Bruckner Boulevard and Lincoln Ave in Mott Haven! Pick up a few blossoms, and a little inspiration from Michael’s creations!
· Thank you to community members Greisi Luciano and Janvieve Comrie Williams for their delicious contributions to our table! Thank you to our entire
· Honorable mentions to local establishments El Valle Restaurant ( the one on Jerome Ave & 169 Street), to the Bronx Brewery for the extension of love, and to Flavas International for the slamming Candied Yams!
An eternal debt of gratitude to our performing instructors! You are magical! They pulled together the unforgettable performances of the evening beautifully! You make us so very proud!
To our staff and volunteers: You rock! You pulled it together AND looked gorgeous for the evening!
A final thank you to our entire community! We are here doing what we love because of you! Thank you for accepting us, supporting us, and allowing us to serve you! Here is to many more years of growth, healthy and prosperity! See you all next here…when we celebrate a third year of successes together!
Posted on 10/10/2016 at 8:00:00 PM