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HOPE Week 2023: Dancing Dreams

Three dancers shine in Dancing Dreams' production of The King and I.

Day four of the Yankees’ 14th-annual HOPE Week kicked off last Thursday morning at Dancing Dreams studio in Queens, NY.

Dancing Dreams

On Thursday, July 6, the New York Yankees brought HOPE Week to Dancing Dreams. The brainchild of Joann Ferrara, Dancing Dreams began in 2002 as a program for pediatric physical therapy patients to put the fun back in physical therapy. But to the dancers, it means so much more than that.

In the words of one of the program’s first dancers:

In this class perfect was just a seven-letter word. What others would find imprecise and awkward we found expressive and beautiful. In other places the sound of a wheelchair clicking, a walker rushing by, or a crutch thumping would be disruptive, here those sounds enhanced the sound of the music and made it more beautiful. Our devices are shown with pride. There was no need to worry about being ‘graceful’ because we didn’t need to be. We could just be dancers.

What began as an impromptu class for five little girls has blossomed into an incredible non-profit with hundreds of members and three studios–opening the door for even more disabled children to “just be dancers”.

Dancing Down to Queens

Manager Aaron Boone and a handful of the Bronx Bombers made the trip down to Queens where Dr. Ferrara and her dancers were eagerly waiting.

OF Harrison Bader, SP Domingo German, RP Wandy Peralta, and RP Albert Abreu made an impression right away, lighting up faces throughout the studio. After the Dancers showed the Yankees the ropes, the class broke out into beautiful chaos: German serving up inflated-ball batting practice, Abreu and Peralta twirling ribbons around groups of dancers, Bader rocking a cowboy hat, and Boone showing his players how it’s done on the dance floor.

After all of the fun, Boone and his boys took a minute to share some words and one last surprise: a check for $10,000 and an invitation to batting practice before Thursday night’s clash vs. the Cubs.

HOPE Week 2023

Thursday’s Dancing Dreams event marked day four in the Yankees’ 14th installation of HOPE Week. This was the penultimate of five events on the docket for 2023.

The week kicked off with Damar Hamlin and Sarah Taffet giving on-field CPR training to Yankees players and coaches at the stadium. Both Hamlin and Taffet received CPR on-field after their respective injuries, a procedure that was lifesaving in both cases.

Day two was set aside to honor Project ALS and MLB Network Analyst Sarah Langs, a young woman who herself has ALS. On the 84th anniversary of 1B Lou Gehrig’s “Luckiest Man” speech, Sarah Langs and other young women afflicted with ALS recreated his speech and took an intimate tour of Gehrig’s effects in the Yankees’ Museum.

A handful of Yankees, including 2B Gleyber Torres and SP Nestor Cortes Jr., took the show on the road to Paterson, NJ to host an instructional camp on day three.

After Thursday’s festivities, the Yankees took part in Street Lab in Morrisania, NY for the fifth and final day of this year’s HOPE Week.

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