The Gabriella Foundation was established in 1999 in memory of Gabriella Axelrad, a thirteen-year-old who loved to dance. It was the desire of Gabri's family and friends that disadvantaged children in Los Angeles would receive the same joy and benefits from dance that Gabri experienced in her short life. In the hope of serving all children with an interest in experiencing the wonders of dance, the Foundation named its program, everybody dance! Everybody dance! opened its doors in May 2000, in a low-income housing project just west of downtown Los Angeles. The program started with 35 students in 12 weekly classes. Demand for the classes grew quickly and additional instructors were added to accommodate the rush of young applicants. Currently everybody dance! provides in/after-school dance classes in ballet, tap, modern, jazz and hip-hop to nearly 3,500 students at 19 sites across Los Angeles. Over 90% of students who have shared their experience say that everybody dance! improves self-esteem, sense of self-efficacy, and overall physical fitness. Due in part to the program’s rigorous approach and high student expectations, everybody dance! students are winning awards, matriculating to competitive arts-focused high schools and participating in summer programs with professional dance companies. A few of the most advanced alumni have leveraged their training to join international dance companies. Professionals in the dance field have taken note of everybody dance!'s rigor, quality and high expectations. Benjamin Millepied, ("Black Swan," "L.A. Dance Project," former New York City ballet principal) recently described everybody dance! as "the best program I have seen in this country." The Foundation opened Gabriella Charter School (GCS) in 2005 to provide an academic option that would hold inner-city students to the same rigor and high expectations exemplified by everybody dance!. GCS began with 100 students in a building adjacent to the low-income project where everybody dance! had started five years earlier and now serves 436 students in grades K to 8. In 2013, USC's Center for Educational Governance named GCS the second best charter school of all the elementary and middle charter schools in California. Later that year on July 1, GCS was transferred to a separate but linked non-profit entity to strengthen governance capacity. Everybody dance! remained strong, continuing to provide its award-winning dance curriculum at the high-performing charter school. In August 2017, GCS opened a second charter school in South Los Angeles serving students in grades K to 2. GCS continues to outperform all comparison LAUSD and charter schools in academics, was named to the 2016 California Honor Roll as a Star School for its work closing the achievement gap, and received the highest WASC accreditation level. Today, The Gabriella Foundation and Gabriella Charter Schools continually seek to strengthen their historic partnership through strategic collaboration and cooperation in a variety of areas. As we grow together, we ensure that our core areas of focus remain competitive and resilient, working in concert to deliver the highest quality dance and academics. One family’s vision has truly changed thousands of lives.
Everybody Dance! provides high-quality in-school and after-school dance classes to Los Angeles low-resourced children and youth from preschool through high school at little or no cost.