by Morey Storck
For the past 17 years, Sleepy Hollow Performing Artists (SHPA), with founder and Artistic Director Debralyn Press at the helm, has been one of the most creative and intellectual exponents of modern dance and classic ballet in the rivertowns region. And, as she strongly asserted, “Our overall passion is promoting individual self-esteem in mind and body through rigorous training in the performing arts, focused instruction in technique, and the tools necessary to grow as people and artists.”
Last year SHPA was extremely popular in Westchester-wide large venues, as well as in schools, senior and social outreach centers and outdoor festivals. It culminated in a very successful holiday evening of creative dance at the Irvington Town Hall Theatre in December. In spite of that, SHPA deemed it necessary to relocate. As Press explained, “Our rent obligations, mounting everyday expenses, and carrying out our core beliefs in helping needy students and families became too much of a financial burden. Frankly, even with the wonderful and beautiful support of our student body and their parents, it became very clear that without village and/or outside private financial help, Sleepy Hollow had become too expensive for us.
“We leave with tears, but, also, with new and great expectations. And with memories we will always cherish of our many supporters,” Press added. “In particular, we must single out Eileen Fisher and the Eileen Fisher Foundation. We will be forever grateful for her help, support and advice.”
Sleepy Hollow Performing Artists is now located at 157 Main Street, Ossining. Its next semester begins March 6, and registration is continuing. “The physical layout is ideal for us,” Press explained. “We have four individual studios to teach different disciplines at the same time, and little nooks for kids to do their homework or whatever, while they’re waiting to be called. And, very important, we have two bathrooms! Also, we are so fortunate to have our very talent ented, professional teaching staff come with us to Ossining. Joining them are our excellent advanced student teachers, a very large contingent of Sleepy Hollow students, and new sign-ups here in Ossining.”
The cutting-edge program remains, essentially, the same. The one major exception is the addition of the new Hip-Hop Academy where every aspect of hip-hop will be explored. “It’s a new, young and fresh culture,” Press said. “We will explore the role of the DJ and the MC; the fashion and the art; Rap and how to make your own music; and, of course, the ever-evolving creative steps and how to dance. Sports Jazz is exciting. Boys want to dance and this is just the thing to bring them in.”
“C’mon up, everyone. Welcome!” Press added.
For more information, please visit: firstname.lastname@example.org or call: 914-909-5070.