The National Museum of Dance in Saratoga Springs, where NYSSSA Dance and NYSSSA Ballet students take class each summer.

I know times are rough and budgets are tight. But I was shocked when I received an e-mail notice informing me that the budget for the New York State Summer School of the Arts (NYSSSA) was about to be slashed by 50%.

NYSSSA has not one but two incredible programs for teenage dancers. The NYSSSA School of Dance is geared towards modern dancers, and I’m proud to have spent several summers there working and teaching alongside an amazing faculty (ranging from the program’s director, Carolyn Adams, to such well known figures as Robert Battle, Jessica Lang, Kanji Segawa, Danny Grossman, Lorry May, Carla Maxwell - and many more). Formerly under the direction of Damian Woetzel and now led by New York City Ballet principal dancer Jenifer Ringer, the NYSSSA School of Ballet is an equally stellar program.

Now both of these schools are in danger of being cut, along with programs in orchestra, choral studies, jazz, visual arts, media arts, and theatre.

If any of you Wingers or readers are alumni of NYSSSA - or even if you are simply New York State residents - please speak out against the slashing of arts education budgets and help save this program!

This advocacy alert has information about how to contact your state representatives.  There are also several Facebook groups for people who want to save NYSSSA, and some of them are sending updates about advocacy efforts.  Finally, there is a new blog and petition online.

To get a better sense of NYSSSA Dance, you can read my Winger post from last summer. Here are a couple snapshots from last summer’s program:

NYSSSA students and alumni

NYSSSA Dance students clapping after class.

Deborah Friedes teaching at NYSSSA

Teaching NYSSSA Dance alumni at this year’s reunion.


  1. Katy

    The exact same thing happened in Arizona. Every school here from elementary to university is suffering after a ridiculously devastating budget cut recently passed. ASU has had to cut tons of degree programs, consolidate colleges, and may have to shut down one of our three campuses…It’s unfortunate how education of all things has to suffer such catastrophic losses from this rough time in our economy.

    Mar 26, 2009 @ 22:38

  2. elisa

    Hi Deborah,

    Amazing post! thank you so much for it. I hope you are a member of the facebook group Save Nysssa and New York State Arts Education. Also thank you for being an arts educator, I think that is impressive in itself.

    Please feel free to contact me by email at anytime with any ideas or updates you may have. It’s ejp300 [at] nyu [dot] edu.
    Also pay attention to the facebook group as there may be a couple of new things popping up as well. Thank you so much for your efforts!
    One by one but working together I think we can make this happen.


    Mar 27, 2009 @ 02:46



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