Needham hip-hop students step up to raise money for kids who can't dance

Sixty TDA hip-hop students from Needham & other communities will take to the stage on March 16 to raise money to find a cure for Sanfilippo Syndrome. Joining them will be members of the nationally-acclaimed dance crew, Phunk Phenomenon, & others.
Sixty TDA hip-hop students from Needham & other communities will take to the stage on March 16 to raise money to find a cure for Sanfilippo Syndrome. Joining them will be members of the nationally-acclaimed dance crew, Phunk Phenomenon, & others.

When students from The Dance Academy of Siagel Productions (TDA) take the stage at Newton South High School on Sunday, March 16, they’ll be popping, locking and breakdancing to honor a young boy who can’t perform the popular dance moves himself. That’s because 8-year-old Jared Connor suffers from a rare, and usually fatal, genetic disorder known as Sanfilippo Syndrome which robs its victims of the ability to walk, talk, and even eat.

As a long-time friend and colleague of Jared’s parents, Reia and Rick Connor, and a generous supporter of many charitable causes, Newtonite Steve Siagel wanted to help raise awareness of Jared’s illness and his parents’ search for a cure. The president and founder of one of the Needham/Newton area’s most successful dance studios decided to organize a community event that would bring together the area’s most talented hip-hop dancers to raise money for Jared’s Fight, the foundation started by the Connors.

Choosing to feature Phunk Phenomenon in the show was a natural. That’s because Reia Connor, a former New England Patriots Cheerleader, is the founder, director and creative force behind Phunk Phenonmenon, one of Greater Boston’s best-known hip-hop crews.

“Once we got started, the pieces just kind of fell into place,” Siagel describes. “As soon as our TDA students heard about the performance, they were excited to participate.” 

The 90-minute dance show for children and adults will feature a range of hip-hop talents, including approximately 60 TDA students aged from 9-18 from Needham, Newton, Wellesley, Weston and other communities. Each TDA hip-hop dance troupe will perform an original routine choreographed by a TDA instructor. Many of the routines will also be performed at upcoming New England dance competitions.

Also performing will be the Newton South Senior Varsity Dance Team coached by TDA Director Erica Sperberg. The finale of the event will feature a special performance by the international award-winning dance crew, Phunk Phenomenon, best known for their appearances at Boston Celtics games, and on MTV’s America’s Best Dance Crew.  

“Hip-hop is one of the most popular dance genres we offer,” explains TDA’s Sperberg. “We thought a hip-hop performance event would be a great way to give back to our community and raise awareness of Sanfilippo Syndrome at the same time.”

Tickets to the event are just $10 for adults, $5 for children aged 10 and under. All proceeds from the event will be donated to finding a cure for Sanfilippo Syndrome.

For Siagel, a professional performer who is president and founder of The Dance Academy as well as the internationally acclaimed deejay entertainment and event planning company, Siagel Productions Inc., the March performance offers a way to share the power of dance with a growing audience.

“I have personally seen how dance transforms lives, and I believe that this exciting, close up, hip-hop performance may be the spark that ignites many kids to become hip-hop dancers,” Siagel observes. “This is a really meaningful way for our TDA students to use their dance talent to give back to the community. The Dance Academy is happy to support a great organization like Jared’s Fight and to inspire girls and boys in the community to get involved and learn what power of dance can do for them and others.”

Tickets for the March 16th performance can be purchased online through the Dance for a Cause button on The Dance Academy website. To learn more about Jared Connor and Sanfilippo Syndrome, visit Jared’s Fight.


Privately owned and operated by New England’s largest deejay entertainment company, The Dance Academy of Siagel Productions is dedicated to bringing the fun and excitement of dance to boys and girls of all ages and abilities. With more than a dozen different instructional and competitive programs in contemporary and classical genres, The Dance Academy fosters self-confidence, discipline and a positive outlook on life. For details on registration and Dance Academy programs, visit http://www.thedanceacademynewton.com/ phone 617.614.5438 or email Erica@spevents.com.




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