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Founder Stepping Off As Executive Director Of Dancewave After 25 Years


This September, Founder Diane Jacobowitz will step off as Executive Director of Dancewave, a leading, socially conscious nonprofit organization known for empowering youth through dance opportunities across New York City and beyond. Jacobowitz will be honored for her Lifetime Achievement during Dancewave's upcoming gala taking place on Wednesday, April 22nd at 501 Union in Brooklyn, NY. Celebrating its 25th anniversary, Dancewave reflects on its humble start in a small office at the YWCA on Atlantic Avenue, its persistence shaping the dance education field in Brooklyn, and the 35,000 students, teachers, artists, parents and audience members it has touched since its founding in 1995.

Jacobowitz developed a dynamic training model that connects student dancers directly with internationally renowned choreographers, carving a new space for young voices in conversation with the professional dance community. Dancewave's Youth Company has learned and performed repertory from Modern Dance legends Mark Morris, John Heginbotham, Meredith Monk, Camille A. Brown, Annie-B Parson, Paul Taylor, Trisha Brown, Kyle Abraham, Twyla Tharp, Shen Wei and many more at venues including Jacob's Pillow, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and The Jimmy Fallon Show. The Company received international attention after its performance at the Aberdeen International Youth Festival in 2010, the only American representative in attendance that year.

An LIU Dance Professor at the time, Jacobowitz founded Dancewave in 1995 with a singular event, the Kids' Cafe Festival, highlighting young dancers ages 11-18 from diverse citywide neighborhoods and bringing them into top-tier performing arts venues including BAM and The Kitchen. This new concept not only inspired choreographers, like Mark Morris, who saw new life spring from their choreography when performed by Dancewave students, but also provided a platform for Jacobowitz to build consistent educational programs in private and public schools and community spaces around Brooklyn. Since then, Dancewave has continually expanded its public school and community residencies, offering an average of 35 residencies in schools and senior centers serving 6,000 New Yorkers annually in all five boroughs.

Dancewave's economic impact over its 25 years has been immense, creating jobs for thousands of teaching artists and choreographers and preparing alumni for robust creative careers. Dancewave Through College & Beyond, a nationwide college fair and audition event now in its 10th year, has facilitated $8.5 million in college tuition scholarships to date and attracts college representatives internationally. Funds raised during the 2020 gala will also support Dancewave's new Artist-in-Residence Program, which awards four emerging artists each year a stipend for 60 hours of rehearsal space.
Dancewave will experience its first major shift in executive leadership alongside a pivotal moment of growth. In June 2019, Dancewave opened its brand new dance and community center at 182 4th Avenue in Gowanus, Brooklyn, expanding to three times its former size and radically broadening its capabilities this year and into the future. Community members, collaborators and alumni, past and present, are invited to celebrate this milestone and the Lifetime Achievement of Diane Jacobowitz during Dancewave's fundraiser gala in April. Tickets on sale now at Learn more about Dancewave's history at, or email

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