Through Dance, She Found the Confidence to Speak

By Giving List Staff   |   November 18, 2022
EDLA!'s Conservatory 3 Ballet Students performing at the 2022 Celebration at SoFi Stadium. Many of these students have been taking dance at EDLA! for 8-14 years.

At 13, Sophia Vasquez moved from Mexico to Los Angeles with her family. Sophia struggled to assimilate into the new culture and suffered with such severe anxiety that she rarely spoke to anyone in public. 

As she fought to learn English and find her voice, Sophia found another way to express herself – through dance classes at Everybody Dance LA! (EDLA!), a nonprofit organization that uses the power of dance to transform the lives of children living in under-resourced Los Angeles area communities.

Sophia Vasquez received a full academic scholarship to Carnegie Mellon University where she plans to study Computer Science and Electrical Engineering. In 2022, 100% of EDLA! youth graduated high school on time and were accepted to college. In addition to Sophia, two other EDLA! students received full academic scholarships to Duke University and Pitzer College.

Everybody Dance LA! was founded in 1999 by Liza Bercovici in memory of her 13-year-old daughter, Gabriella, who loved to dance. Today, Everybody Dance LA! has blossomed into a robust sequential dance education program for students of all levels. Through hard work and dedication, students in the program can progress from beginner to conservatory-level performer. EDLA! is proud that 100% of its students graduate high school on time, are accepted into college, and a few alumni have even gone on to dance professionally in well-known programs such as the Royal Ballet and the San Francisco Ballet.

Every year, students get to experience self-expression, creativity, discipline, and the joy of dancing – from hip hop and salsa to jazz and ballet. EDLA! reaches students through its high-quality After-School Program as well as through its energetic In-School Program that serves over 5,000 children each week throughout Los Angeles County.

“Everybody Dance LA! provides not only formal dance training, but also enrichment programs that focus on the whole child. At EDLA! students do not just learn to dance, they gain confidence and learn the importance of being engaged in their communities,” says Executive Director Alexandria Dilks Pandola. 

Over the years Sophia learned to express herself without judgment or fear at Everybody Dance LA! Now, at age 18, she has transformed into a confident and powerful young woman who was accepted with a full academic scholarship to the Computer Science and Electrical Engineering program at Carnegie Mellon University. Today, a thoughtful Sophia speaks eloquently:

“For all the young ones,” Sophia says with enthusiasm. “You got this! Keep pushing and I promise all your work pays off later in life.”


Everybody Dance LA!

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(310) 897-5977
Director of Development: Pamela Bash


Everybody Dance LA! transforms lives and communities through the power of high-quality dance education in low-income areas of Los Angeles.

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As part of a company that values the highest quality of storytelling and entertainment for all, Warner Brothers Discovery’s contribution to EDLA! is fundamentally in alignment with their ability to bring the art form of dance to children and communities that would not otherwise participate. We could not more readily encourage other corporations to follow suit by recognizing the hidden gem that is Everybody Dance LA! for all their incredible work in fostering positivity in the next generation of creative minds.
Kathleen McCaffrey
SVP of Programming at HBO

Transforming Lives and Communities Through the Power of Dance

Its name says it all – Everybody Dance LA! wants everyone to dance. That is why the organization asks families to pay just $15 a month ($150 a year) for its After-School Program.

“If families invest a little bit in dance education, both the parent and the child feel a sense of pride and commitment to the program,” says Director of Development Pamela Bash. “But we never turn a child away due to an inability to pay.”

The true cost of the program is $1,500 a year per student. This year, EDLA!’s fundraising goal is $1.2M and they hope to raise $100,000 through The Giving List.

Key Supporters

American Dance Movement
California Arts Council
Carl and Roberta Deutsch Foundation
Dwight Stuart Youth Fund
Hearst Foundation
Herb Alpert Foundation
Jane Jelenko
Joan Herman and Richard Rasiej
Johnny Carson Foundation
Joseph Drown Foundation
Inara George and Jake Kasdan
Meg and Lawrence Kasdan
Kenneth T. and Eileen L. Norris Foundation
Larry A. Ginsberg and Rob Levine
Leah and Samuel Fischer
Los Angeles County Arts Commission
Los Angeles Department of Cultural Arts
Luppen Family Foundation
Lynne and James DeWitt
Maja Kristin
National Charity League of Los Angeles
National Endowment for the Arts
Oder Family Foundation
Play Equity Fund
Rose Hills Foundation
The Green Foundation
The Louis L. Borick Foundation
The Ralph M. Parsons Foundation
United Talent Agency