Seventeen-year-old Rebecca Lewyn read about the struggle of communities hard hit economically, physically and emotionally by COVID-19. She learned that the virus has disproportionately impacted African American communities and wanted to help. Because her mom Bev Lewyn is in the high-risk group for COVID-19, Rebecca knew she couldn’t risk spending much time in public. She pondered how could she, just a high schooler, raise money to help while staying close to home.
The light bulb went on — dance! Rebecca is a competitive dancer who typically spends 10 to 15 hours a week in dance training and rehearsal. Mom Bev said, “Dancers have felt disconnected, trying to keep training over Zoom during the pandemic. Last year’s competitive dance season went ‘up in smoke.’ To be sure, a first-world problem, but one which Rebecca realized she could harness to do some good.”
Rebecca decided to connect choreographers, professional dancers and competitive dancers to work towards the goal of helping others. Together, they could safely use their artistry in their own homes, garages and backyards, sell tickets to raise money, and entertain others via a professional level dance show, all on Zoom. Rebecca named the show “Dancers for COVID-19 Relief.”
She spent dozens of hours over the summer reaching out to nationally known choreographers, professional dancers and fellow senior competitive dancers. She researched songs and gave each dancer 30 seconds of music. Rebecca instructed them to share their artistry in any way they wanted. She then managed the operation, gathered the videos, edited them and looped it together.
Rebecca did the advertising on Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok, headed the ticket sales, and cajoled dancers into meeting their deadlines. She then orchestrated the show, all in the safety of her basement. The advertising worked, and the TikTok video alone got 3,000 views.
The show’s dancers ranged from a Radio City Rockette, a Los Angeles professional dancer, several Atlanta choreographers, and senior competitive dancers from multiple studio teams around Georgia.
In addition to herself, there were five Jewish Atlanta dancers: Eden Vainer, Molly Fisher, Lily Stoumen, Halli Friedman and Sarah Traub. The majority of them dance on Rebecca’s competitive team at Elite Studios in Sandy Springs. Rebecca, Eden and Molly attend The Weber School. Before Weber, Rebecca and Eden attended AJA and Molly went to The Epstein School. Lily, Halli and Sarah were students at Epstein and The Davis Academy before attending Riverwood and North Springs high schools.
Eden performed to the song “Hide and Seek.” She said, “I was very happy to be part of this and am very proud of Rebecca. Dancers at all levels were able to pre-record themselves dancing solo. We were all told to dress in black contemporary clothing.”
Dancers for COVID-19 Relief raised over $2,000 for the BET-United Way Saving Our Selves fund. The fund aids families in Atlanta, Detroit, New Orleans, Chicago, and New York. Rebecca explains, “I researched COVID-19 funds. I read through the website, and it explained United Way’s presence throughout the years. I looked up success stories with the fund so far, and I felt comfortable the people that needed it the most would get the money. I would have been happy raising $300, so I was delighted to be able to raise so much more.”
Rebecca continued, “It was so inspiring to see the dance community join together to use their artistry in the best way possible. We used our skill and creativity for good, all while keeping safe. Everyone filmed their pieces in the safety of their homes, garages and backyards.”
The 40-minute recorded show is available for purchase for $10. All proceeds go to the Saving Our Selves fund.
To buy a recording of the show, visit www.eventbrite.com/e/dancers-for-covid-19-relief-tickets-118455400291, www.instagram.com/dancersforcovidrelief/
- Marcia Caller Jaffe
- Rebecca Lewyn
- Bev Lewyn
- Dancers for COVID-19 Relief
- Radio City Rockette
- Eden Vainer
- Molly Fisher
- Lily Stoumen
- Halli Friedman
- Sarah Traub
- The Weber School
- Atlanta Jewish Academty
- The Epstein School
- The Davis Academy
- North Springs High School
- Saving Our Selves fund