Chance to Dance

How It Works

Chance to Dance is an established arts program that gives Rhode Island children in grades three through six a unique hands-on experience with the arts. Chance to Dance is a program of Dance Alliance of RI, a 501c3 organization.

Program Overview

Chance to Dance is an 8-month program with an event at PPAC.

  • 23 Classes (45 minutes long) with a Professional Dance Teacher and Live Accompanist. (October-May)
  • Chance to Dance Pedagogy, aligned with RI and national GSE’s for Dance
  • TWO topic dances, researched by the students to create original choreography. Every student will perform in both acts of the Show.
  • Participation in the Opening Number, which begins the Show.
  • Eligibility to be selected by the teacher to join SLEEQuE FEET, where dancers learn additional (more complicated) dances with other students from all over the state. They will also have other opportunities to perform at events CTD is invited to.
  • Students will be invited to contribute art-work, poetry, and writing to be published in the Chance to Dance Anniversary Commemorative Program Booklet. Student artwork will also be selected and printed on the Anniversary Souvenir T-Shirt.

Frequent Asked Questions

Why a dance program?

Chance to dance was founded in 1986 on the belief that the arts are an integral part of a child’s education and that children should have the opportunity to actively experience the arts. Dance is an excellent medium to provide this opportunity, for the needs of a dance program are minimal: a safe space large enough for dancing, a teacher and a musical accompanist.

What role does the program play in a child’s education?

The program has been shown to increase self-esteem and confidence, help develop coordination and motor skills, and create and develop an appreciation for dance, music and other art forms. Teachers and parents praise the program for its ability to raise the confidence and aspirations of young people by helping them learn how to learn and showing them different approaches to learning. What is the final performance like? The final performance takes place at the Providence Performing Arts Center. The show features an average of 850 children dancing to the thrilling rhythmic sounds of a live band. Every child participates in at least two dances on the day that their school performs. The final performance is an energy-charged event that neither the children nor their audience of family, friends, and fellow students will soon forget!

What is a Chance to Dance class like?

Classes are conducted by trained professionals in a non-competitive and non-threatening atmosphere that allows children to develop their own unique abilities and talents as they work towards an end of the year production. This final performance features two different educational themes that the children are asked to research. The children work with their dance teacher to translate their findings into movements that are put together to create two unique dances. The children’s research and ideas also provide the basis for a script that brings the entire production together.

Who are the Chance to Dance schools?

Through our history we have been hosted by schools in Providence, Barrington, Warwick, Bristol/Warren, East Providence, Pawtucket, West Warwick, Peacedale, Jamestown, North Kingstown and South Kingstown. We are ever ready to increase the areas we serve, adding diversity to our Chance to Dance Family!

Who are the Chance to Dance students?

Children are invited to take part in the program regardless of previous training, innate ability or physical condition. No special clothing or equipment are needed, thereby making the program accessible to all children regardless of their economic situation. While schools must limit the size of the class, a child needs only to demonstrate enthusiasm and a willingness to work hard in order to hold his or her place in the class.


Super-dedicated children from each class are selected mid-year to become SLEEQUE FEET. The representative group of Chance to Dance students meet for extra classes to learn additional (and more complicated) dances that they perform at the final production and other events around the state to which Chance to Dance is invited.

Is there a cost for children to participate?

Each school pays a set fee for the selected program. Some schools include Chance to Dance in their school budget, others pay this fee by seeking PTA support and parent contributions or by holding fundraising events.

Who sponsors Chance to Dance?

Chance to Dance is a cooperative effort of Dance Alliance of Rhode Island/Chance to Dance with long term support from Rhode Island State Council on the Arts, Providence Performing Arts Community Outreach. VSA arts/RI funding is provided under a contract with the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts , Rhode Island Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance, and MetLife. Legislative grants, Corporate support and charitable foundations are some of the entities that lend support to Chance to Dance. For a complete list: contact [email protected]. Chance to Dance relies on tuition from schools, individual donors, community organizations, program ads.

Who runs the program?

Chance to Dance is run by a dedicated staff of arts educators who also work professionally as dance teachers and musicians. They are assisted throughout the year by an equally dedicated group of teachers, school personnel, and parents who volunteer their time. Each participating school must appoint a Coordinator, who will be present during all classes and serve as a contact and information conductor between Chance to Dance and the School. The Coordinator could be a teacher, school staff person, or a parent volunteer.


Got Questions?

Christena Murphy, Director
PO Box 1491
Woonsocket, RI 02895
​(401) 678-0309​
[email protected]

“From a practical standpoint, live musicians in the class allow the teacher to easily request a change of tempo, repeat a section of music, without having to operate recorded music, which allows them to stay engaged with the students…And in the modern digital world in which our kids are immersed

It’s important that they experience connecting with live music and realize that it is , by and large, made by real people.”

Chance to Dance class musician


Performing schools are: Sherman Elementary, A. M. Waddington, Colt Andrews, Silver Spring, Guiteras, Kent Heights, Hugh Cole, John Wickes, Robert F. Kennedy, Matunuck Elementary, followed by the legendary SLEEQuE FEET who Can’t Stop Dancin’





Additional Sponsors

  • Rep. Julie Casimiro
  • Rep. Doreen Costa legislative grant
  • Sen. James Sheehan legislative grant
  • Sen. Da Ponte legislative grant
  • Betty E and Chester C. Thompson Foundation, Inc.
  • Andrade ­ Faxon Charities for Children Foundation
  • MetLife Foundation”

All children should have the experience of dance in their lives. Chance to Dance, a program of Dance Alliance of Rhode Island gives children a 23 week program in their schools in which they learn to create dances based on the year’s theme while learning basic dance movement. Weekly classes are led by a specially trained teacher and an accompanist. The culminating event offers participants the opportunity to perform at the Providence Performing Arts Center (PPAC) in Late May. After 33 years providing the children of Rhode Island the Chance to Dance we are proud to say that this is the longest in-school program in the state. Ten to thirteen schools per year has been the standard number participating. More support – more schools – more dance!!!