Step inside the halls of five NYC public schools and celebrate dance! Hosted by veteran TV journalist Paula Zahn, PS DANCE! is a New York Emmy-nominated documentary that captures what happens when students add dance to their daily studies. The journey is one of imagination, curiosity, hard work and discipline. In these studios dance is for every child.
Two years in the making…
I feel so privileged to share with you this documentary that I directed and produced with Jody Gottfried Arnhold and Joan Finkelstein. PS DANCE!, an inspiring documentary showcasing the profound effects of dance education in NYC public schools, reveals the impact that consistent and sequential dance instruction has on students’ aesthetic, artistic and expressive development.
Making an hour-long film like this has always been a dream of mine, and to collaborate with smart, talented people such as Joan and Jody is almost mind-boggling, not to mention working with my longtime friend and collaborator on editing the film, Loren R. Robertson, and brilliant composers Bob Novak and Gabriel Ruiz-Bernal.
What this project means to me
I never realized what an advocate I am for dance education until Jody came into my life and pointed it out. When she invited me into the classrooms of five NYC public school dance educators, I felt the world get brighter. With little notice of my arrival, and no script in place, my team captured everyday lessons and spontaneous reactions from teachers and students.
I witnessed joy and confidence blooming in elementary school, saw collaboration and caring thrive in middle school, and cried behind the camera while high schoolers told me how dance kept them in their classrooms and off the streets. Dance transforms – it inspires, it connects, it breeds discipline and hard work and respect. I hope this film illuminates the powerful impact dance education can have on every child and grows into a movement to provide this opportunity nationwide.
Produced & Directed by Nel Shelby
Executive Producer Jody Gottfried Arnhold
Dance Education Consultant Joan Finkelstein
Edited by Loren R. Robertson
Music composed by Bob Novak and Gabriel Ruiz-Bernal
PS DANCE! photos by Christopher Duggan
A Production of Nel Shelby Productions, made on behalf of the Fund for Public Schools and NYC Department of Education