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For seven years, Cheryl Todmann has brought her passion for dance to the community as founder and executive producer of The Stars of New York Dance, a charitable, thrilling and judged dance competition for New York City leaders that raises dance education funds for children from low-income communities.
Cheryl never thought she’d leave her career of marketing media for companies such Essence Magazine, The New York Times, TV Guide and MTV Networks for a calling of marketing movement. But at age 30 with chronic knee problems from an adolescent injury, her Spirit told her she needed to move physically to be fulfilled. So she joined the dance ministry at St. Paul Community Baptist Church in East New York, Brooklyn and it changed her life.
As Cheryl danced, she became more confident, creative and started winning awards at TV Guide where she worked as a marketing copywriter. She realized that if dance could do this for her as an adult, it could help children in under-resourced neighborhoods in New York City develop the discipline, confidence and self-esteem they need to succeed in school and in life, and reach their full potential.
With a leap of faith, she resigned from TV Guide and became a personal trainer and group fitness instructor to begin her mission of healing herself and others. She founded the Jewel & Rock Fitness dance and movement program at the encouragement of St. Paul’s members, and later joined Creative Outlet Dance Theatre of Brooklyn in 1999 as marketing and development director and dance apprentice.
In 2001, she made her professional dance debut in Creative Outlet’s “Best of Seven” Dance Concert at BAM and later performed with the Tony Award-winning choreographer George Faison as a dancer in his “Tribute to the Amistad” at Riverbank Park in Manhattan. She danced for Isaac Hayes’s Birthday Bash at the Copacabana, and in 2002, had the unimaginable opportunity to dance for Michael Jackson. With 20 dancers from her Jewel & Rock Fitness program, Cheryl and her group performed for his 30 Years of Magic Fan Celebration at Webster Hall.  From the venue’s balcony seats, Michael watched Jewel & Rock Fitness perform to one of his own favorite songs, “Get On The Floor” from his “Off The Wall” album. Michael shared, "I like the Jewels!"
Encouraged by her family, and mentors Susan L. Taylor, Rev. Dr. Johnny Ray Youngblood, Danny Simmons and New York City Public Advocate Letitia James, Cheryl was divinely inspired to craft her own plan to edify her community through dance.
One chance viewing of Dancing with the Stars in 2006 confirmed her calling, and in 2010, The Stars of New York Dance was born and featured five New York City leaders including Public Advocate Letitia James, who was then City Council Member for the 35th District, Brooklyn, and Special Guest Dancers Rev. Al Sharpton and Bill de Blasio, who was NYC Public Advocate. Colvin W. Grannum, President & CEO of Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation and his partner Shani Worrell won the title of 2010 Dance Champions and $5,000 to provide free dance scholarships to children to attend Restoration’s Youth Arts Academy.
Since its inception, The Stars of New York Dance has provided approximately 100 children from underserved neighborhoods in New York City with free high-quality dance education with local dance organizations.
Cheryl’s future goals:
  • Use dance as a tool for social justice 
  • Inspire every New York City leader to dance
  • Grow deeper in faith and dance everyday of her life
Follow Cheryl @starsofnydance