top of page
Dancing Girl with Wand
  • facebook-white
  • twitter-white
  • instagram-white
  • youtube-white

about dancing dreams

Dancing Dreams started with a Dream. The dream of little girls to put on a tutu and glitter—and dance just like other little girls their age.

Despite their dreams, these girls were not able to dance like their friends, sisters, cousins and even their mothers. They had physical and medical challenges that prevented them from joining classes in their community.

Joann Ferrara, a pediatric physical therapist, was inspired to make the dancing dreams of children come true when one day a little girl with cerebral palsy in a tiara and tutu said simply, “I wish I could be a dancer but nobody wants me.” Dancing Dreams has grown from five girls to our current 125 girls and boys. Classes are adapted so each child can participate to the best of his or her own unique ability. Our Annual Performance, complete with elaborate sets and numerous costume changes, is a highlight for our dancers and their families. We do not charge admission to this celebration of achievement.

Weekly classes are held in three locations: Bayside (Queens), Upper East Side (Manhattan), and Plainview (Long Island). Dancing Dreams is a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit. We rely on charitable contributions to sustain our program. 

Dance Student

we've been featured!

Dancing Dreams has been featured on The Today Show, The Meredith Vieira Show, NBC, and ABC and in Ladies Home Journal, The New York Times, and People Magazine.

Check out our Videos and News.

Ballerina Dreams, a book about the program, was published in 2007 by Macmillian. It has been designated a notable book by the American Library Association.

To purchase the book, click here.

our stories...

Dancing Dreams Graduate

Growing up with cerebral palsy, I was the only physically challenged person in my family and community. Dancing Dreams made me see that there were lots of other kids like me…It was an important moment when I understood that physical and medical challenges are something that affect a large number of people. While some challenges may not be as visible as mine, it is all around us and it is something that is not unique to my experience. I am forever grateful to Dancing Dreams for providing me with these feelings of friendship, freedom, belonging, and confidence. Not only did Dancing Dreams make me believe in myself and my abilities, but it encouraged others to see beyond my wheelchair and to recognize that I am a ballerina and a dancer.

Dancing Dreams started with a Dream. The dream of little girls to put on a tutu and glitter—and dance just like other little girls their age.

Kathleen Downes

She currently serves as the Parent Education/Outreach Coordinator for Dancing Dreams, blogs at The Squeaky Wheelchair and spends time being as active as possible in the disability community. Pictured above, Kathleen performed a solo dance at our performance to her original essay, “Thursday’s Dreamers.”

Kathleen Downes, Dancing Dreams (alum dancer ’11) graduated from the University of Illinois in 2018 with her Master’s in social work.

Rachl Maschler

Rachel earned a B.A. in Psychology from Barnard College and a B.A. in Jewish History from the Jewish Theological Seminary in 2016. When she is not studying, Rachel is busy spending time with family and friends and traveling as much as possible.

Rachel Maschler, Dancing Dreams alumna Teen Helper. She received a Doctorate of Physical Therapy at NYU.

board of directors

Cathleen C. Trautwig, Esq., President

Partner, Wellington Sterling Consulting;
Former Chief of Staff, Office of the Dean, Columbia University,
Mailman School of Public Health

Patricia Hassett Ribaudo, Treasurer

Ph.D., Clinical Professor, School of Education, Fordham University (retired)

Valerie Rowe, PhD, Secretary

Pediatric Physical Therapist, Dancing Dreams Founder, Executive Director

Joann Ferrara, PT

CEO and Founder CollabWORK

Summer Delaney

Judi Eichler

Cord Meyer Development 

Joe Forgione

bottom of page