Local dancers raise thousands to help children


On Sunday, Dec. 15, the Dance Connection Performance Team and Dance Connection Theatrical Productions held a benefit performance at the CM Performing Arts Center in Oakdale to raise money for Gavin’s Got Heart, a local charity assisting families of infants and children diagnosed with congenital heart defects. The original production raised $4,750 for the charity, which will be used to offer financial assistance and support for these families in need.

“At Dance Connection we feel that our passion for dance is meant to be shared, and what better way than to use that passion than to give back to your community. The pride that our dancers feel knowing they brightened the holidays for their audience while raising money for a great cause is something that stays with them far beyond their dance classes,” said artistic director Mary Naftal.

Gavin's Got Heart helps to subsidize medical bills, travel expenses associated with hospitalizations and medical care, and offset loss of wages for caregiver/parent(s).  To date, Gavin's Got Heart has donated over $315,000 to 63 local families. Gavin's Got Heart also provides free heart screenings, and CPR/AED training for the community through a partnership with Northwell Health, and provides hospital outreach initiatives for heart families.

The cast of 38 people worked to put the show together beginning in late September, with an original script by Colleen M. Hughes, choreography by the Dance Connection teaching staff, and directed by Mary DeBorger. They were thrilled to be brought together after the holidays to present Nicole Mogil, the founder of Gavin’s Got Heart, with the $4,750 raised by their efforts.

Founded in September 1989, Dance Connection is an Islip-based company whose mission is to create a welcoming and fun setting for proper performing arts education.  With over 85 classes per week, students of all ages and abilities have a professional and exciting experience every day. For more information on Dance Connection, please call 631 224-7134 or visit


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