2008-01-17 / Letters to the Editor

Off the Curb closing its doors

Unfortunately, times have changed quite a bit over the last 16 years. My program, which was at first very innovative, is no longer unique in the community.

When I started, hip hop dance classes were not available anywhere in Rhode Island except at Off the Curb. Now the dance form is in every dance studio in Rhode Island. Off the Curb was the premier hip hop dance troupe in Rhode Island and now there are many throughout the state. I am proud to have been an innovator in the community, but have decided its time to move on with my talents and create new avenues to inspire people.

I want to thank all of my supporters that have been there for me over the years. Please know that your donations were used to solely to create incredible experiences for the youth of Aquidneck Island. With your support, I was able to send these youth to three countries (Italy, Portugal and Canada). Off the Curb dancers were the stars of the PBS documentary The Heart Of Hip Hop. I have been able to inspire thousands of youth all over the US with our powerful message of no drugs and violence through our high-powered dance performances. We have performed for children with HIV, children who lost parents in 9/11, special needs children, and incarcerated youth. We have made life changing effects on audiences young and old. Youth in my program danced in a Wesley Snipes movie and opened concerts for many famous artists.

My greatest thanks to my biggest funders: the Rhode Island Foundation and the Newport County Fund, BankNewport, Citizens Bank, Teresa Paiva Weed and Nuala Pell.

My greatest thanks to the greatest support system: Ernie Levesque, Colleen Byrne, Ruth Taylor, Tim O'Reilly, Tom Marron, Marilyn Moffatt, Nancy Piffard, Allyson McCalla, Akeia Neves, Michael Desrosiers...just to name a few. My deepest appreciation to all of you...whether it be through your financial sup- port or emotional support. I am thankful for you having been consistently present and available to me throughout the duration of my business.

I will still be teaching and available for choreographing and DJing. I am currently teaching in New York at Equinox Fitness and for Derek Jeter's Turn 2 Foundation. I am teaching at Bridge to Fitness in Middletown and throughout Massachusetts at Workout Worlds. Please look for the launching of my own Web site, www.jackiehendersondance.com, within the next couple weeks. As for now, I am closing the doors of Off the Curb. Thanks for your time and my wish is that you all enjoy happiness and success in all your endeavors.

Jackie Henderson

Off the Curb

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