Teacher raises money for dance studio at M.S. 331

A Bronx teacher has raised money to create a studio at her school that will allow students to practice dance in a more comfortable space. 

Cecilia Hua and

News 12 Staff

Sep 18, 2023, 9:27 PM

Updated 218 days ago

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A Bronx teacher has raised money to create a studio at her school that will allow students to practice dance in a more comfortable space. 
Rita Bearden moved to New York from Portugal to pursue a degree in dance education, and eventually landed at M.S. 331 in Morris Heights. 
"Being able to develop a curriculum in an environment where they could actually foster that is really rewarding," Bearden said. 
Many of her students come into the studio with little to no dance background, but Bearden says she treats each lesson as a creative session. 
 
"It's an age where we're figuring out who we are, but that's also where dance can help," she tells News 12. 
To help her students feel more comfortable and welcomed, Bearden has created a fundraiser to raise money for shelves, rugs, dance props and a vacuum. Thanks to help from friends and family and the Panda Cares foundation, she was able to reach her goal. 
"If you have that talent and love, the fact that you don't have access to it in your community, and I can provide it through public education, and they're already here, and it's so much easier for me to give them that."


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