Founded in 1995 by Diane Jacobowitz, Dancewave began as a singular event, the Kids Cafe Festival, in which citywide youth regardless of their background in dance were brought together to train with contemporary choreographers and perform their repertory in top-tier performing arts venues like BAM and The Kitchen. Jacobowitz’s innovative new youth company model launched performing opportunities with choreographers like Meredith Monk, Trisha Brown, Paul Taylor, Kyle Abraham, Camille A. Brown and many more, at venues including Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, the Aberdeen International Youth Festival in Scotland, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and more.

The Dancewave Company program has inspired many choreographers who saw new life spring from their work when performed by Dancewave students. The Company Program model provided a platform for Jacobowitz to build dynamic educational programs in private and public schools and community spaces around Brooklyn.


Celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2020, Dancewave reflects on its humble start in a small office at the YWCA on Atlantic Avenue, its persistence shaping the dance education field in Brooklyn, and the 35,000 students, teachers, artists, parents and audience members it has touched through its innovative programs since its founding in 1995. With the opening of its brand new dance and community center in the heart of growing Gowanus in June 2019, Dancewave is poised to expand its capacity to provide transformative dance experiences to people of all ages and abilities unlike ever before.

An LIU Dance Professor at the time, Jacobowitz founded Dancewave in 1995 with a singular event, the Kids’ Cafe Festival, highlighting young dancers ages 11-18 from diverse citywide neighborhoods and bringing them into top-tier performing arts venues including BAM and The Kitchen. This new concept not only inspired choreographers, like Mark Morris, who saw new life spring from their choreography when performed by Dancewave students but also provided a platform for Jacobowitz to build consistent educational programs in private and public schools and community spaces around Brooklyn. Since then, Dancewave has continually expanded its public school and community residencies, offering an average of 35 residencies in schools and senior centers serving 6,000 New Yorkers annually in all five boroughs.

Dancewave’s Youth Company students performed choreography from Mark Morris’ Masterpiece “L’Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato” in its first public performance.

Jacobowitz developed a dynamic training model that connects student dancers directly with internationally renowned choreographers, carving a new space for young voices in conversation with the professional dance community. The Dancewave Youth Company received international attention after its performance at the Aberdeen International Youth Festival in 2010, the only American representative in attendance that year. Our vast network of skilled teaching artists permeates the creative community across New York, connecting world-renowned teaching artists to young dancers and preparing them technically and creatively for robust careers in the arts and beyond.

Dancewave’s economic impact over its 25 years has been immense:
○ Creates jobs for thousands of teaching artists and choreographers
○ Dancewave Through College & Beyond facilitated $13 million in college tuition scholarships to date
○ Our new Artist-in-Residence Program awards four emerging artists per year a stipend for 60 hours of rehearsal space

Mark Morris ○ John Heginbotham ○ Meredith Monk ○ Trisha Brown ○ Doug Varone ○ Ronald K. Brown ○ Paul Taylor ○ Julia Ehrstrand ○ Annie B. Parsons ○ Antonio Brown ○ Shen Wei ○ Yin Yue ○ Mike Esperanza ○ Jamal Jackson ○ Larry Keigwin ○ Kyle Abraham ○ Camille A. Brown ○ Bill T. Jones ○ David Dorfman Dance ○ José Limón Dance Company ○ Martha Graham Dance Company ○ Andrea Miller/Gallim Dance ○ Urban Bush Women ○ and many more

Aberdeen International Youth Festival ○ Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival ○ Pocantico Rockefeller Estate ○ Joyce Theatre ○ DanceNOW Festival ○ PBS ○ The Metropolitan Museum of Art ○ The Jimmy Fallon Show ○ Paul Taylor Youth Ensemble Showcase ○ National Development Council’s 50th Anniversary Gala at Brooklyn’s Kings Theatre ○ RBC – Race for the Kids