East Harlem dance program celebrates 28 years of changing lives

EAST HARLEM, Manhattan –– It was called Tribute to Life, celebrating 28 years of a dance program in East Harlem that has change so many lives. The program is called KR3TS or Keep Rising to the Top.

Supporters packed the theater at El Museo Del Barrio to watch talented dancers in a program that since 1989 has been providing a positive alternative to street pressure for kids of all ages and shapes including dancers with physical challenges and members of the LGBT community.

"My organization has low income people, people in college, all types of people, all ages, race and height and weight," Violeta Galagarza, the founder, told PIX11. "How we connect everything through music."

Ms. Galagarza's son, Noah, choreographed several pieces, including a tribute to the disabled.

"I am trying to tell people that no matter what your disability is, you can do anything you want," Noah Galagarza told PIX11.

There was also a tribute to alums of the program who have gone on to dance with Lady GagaBeyoncé Rihanna and Chris Brown, like Frankie Gordils, whose mother is so proud:

"Coming from Spanish Harlem, where you want to get your child involved in something positive, I think it was one was the best decision I made," Nelida Gomez, Frankie Gordlis's mother, told PIX11.

Not all the students go on to become professional dancers but KR3TS gave former gang member Miguel Rivera a new direction in life.

"I was a troubled young child, I was 16 and a member of a gang," Rivera told PIX11. "Violet took me under her wing and bought me to the light of dance. She made me successful."

Rivera joined the Marines and is now a college student.

Judging by the crowd reaction to this fundraiser, the KR3TS dance program will be around for at least another 28 years.