Sisters Sophia and Ava Paley have logged nearly 10 years of dance lessons, which also means they have 10 years' worth of outgrown costumes and shoes that were just collecting dust.
"We saw that we had so many shoes and costumes that we were keeping in our apartment. There was so much clutter. So we decided we wanted to put it toward a good cause, we wanted to do something with this," Sophia Paley said.
That's how they came up with the idea of "Donate to Dance." It's a nonprofit 13-year-old Ava and 11-year-old Sophia launched to make good use of their barely worn outfits and shoes.
They partnered with their Manhattan dance studio "Shuffles" in an effort to "tap in" to other dancers' collection of clothes.
"We needed a way to give these away to kids in programs in need, so we decided to create Donate2Dance, where we collect gently worn tap shoes and costumes for kids and programs in need," Ava Paley said.
In less than a year, the Paley sisters have collected hundreds of items, costumes worn only once to shoes costing hundreds of dollars. They're all are packed up and shipped to organizations across the country.
One is "Rosie's Theater Kids," Rosie O'Donnell's nonprofit that gives low-income students free access to dance and theatre lessons.
"Anything that can be done to fill the gap is really wonderful, and what I love about Donate2Dance is, these young two ladies, they make it very personal," said Lynn Muller-Alisch, program director with Rosie's Theater Kids. "And it's young people giving to other young people in the arts, which I think is just really outstanding and a wonderful example."
The Paley sisters say they just hope that everyone who wants to take the stage, can... with no concerns about the cost.
"It's so much fun to express yourself," Sophia Paley said. "And once you feel like you can dance in front of an audience, you feel like you can do anything."
So for giving all young people the "chance to dance," Ava and Sophia Paley are our New Yorkers of the Week.