My name is Debralyn Press.
After a successful career as dancer/actor/singer I decided to I needed to create an impact on our world. I now hold two master's degress: social work (early childhood - adolescent behavior and group work) and dance therapy. Before beginning Sleepy Hollow Performing Artists I worked as the NY City Board of Education's Dance Director and as a Crisis Intervention Specialist with gang members in the Bronx.
It seemed that with my specialized skills I could make more of an impact by using all my training in a specific way. With several other incredible artists Sleepy Hollow Performing Artists was founded in 2004.
Since 1991, I offered the only breakdance classes (set on a sprung floor) in a dance studio setting. These classes brought in boys who would otherwise not dance. Which created the idea of beginning a studio that taught all styles of arts to all people. Sleepy Hollow Performing Artists allows children (many of them at risk) the opportunity to train in all aspects of dance, voice, and theater. And as Hip Hop has evolved so have we.
We now offer classes in Hip Hop, Art, Rap (rhythm and poetry), Waving, Popping, Locking, Animation, Gliding,
Breakin', Tricks & Flips, Stunts, Choreography and more. We hope to include other aspects of hip hop: DJ, MC. Art. We also offer classes in Ballet, Pointe, Theater Jazz, Lyrical, Tap, Choreography, Acting, Voice, Modern, and more.
We believe that any art form that speaks to children and engages them is vitally important in our times: when cyber bullying is causing traumatic results and more teens are addicted to drugs than ever before.
The arts and hip hop are one of the most impactful and influential forces in the world - we want to begin a true Hip Hop Academy, which will bring even more boys/men into our center. We want to train our artists in all aspects of the arts so that they can find work or find out who they are and what they want to do.
Since we started out 501-c-3 in 2004 we have directly mentored and educated local youth on positive culture and creative expression and by allowing them to attend free classes we have given over 2.5 million in scholarship. Most of these kids are at risk or have no family support. Many of them are immigrants and many of these children are the first in their family to attend college. These children have a better chance in our world because we exist.
ART and HIP-HOP EDUCATION:
Hip-Hop is innately educational. It can be used not only to instruct children on art forms, but significant life skills as well - leading children to cultivate a productive, healthy lifestyle. In it's current state, Hip-Hop faces issues in the form of misconceptions and misrepresentation. The values of peace, love, unity, and having fun that first bred the culture have taken a back-seat to fame, power, and glory. Should you visit a local battle you will see young people coming together to share an innate love of dance with respect and honor to all.
In it's natural form, dance, the arts, and hip-hop promotes knowledge of self. Self knowledge breeds strong character which leads to competent and confident individuals. Healthy living is a direct product of positive hip-hop culture - it is both physical and spiritual. Passion is embedded in the moral fiber of our arts culture, and is instilled in every patron from early stages.
The theraputic qualities of the arts are effective for a diverse range of races, ages, and personalities. Cultures that otherwise would have no assosication with each other are brough together with dance (salsa, hip-hop, irish) being the connector. Acting as a universal language, dance is a form of global communication - constantly breaking boundaries and borders.
Arts education cultivates a culture of mass-influence into one that changes the world for the better. It's work will be seen for generations to come, and it's effects willl span lifetimes. Without proper representation and active mentorships, Hip-Hop in particular will never flourish as the impactful culture it naturally is.