PATERSON – Onstage at Giggles Theater on Tuesday were nine kids, all living in transitional housing at Eva’s Village, performing dance routines and reading poetry for an audience of young hospital patients at St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center.
Somehow, the two groups of youngsters, all grappling with tough circumstances, managed to give each other a joyful day. “They love to dance,” said Marcos J. Velasquez, the dance instructor for the youngsters from Eva’s Village, about his young performers.
“Our week of practice was three hours a day, for four days. At the end, they didn’t want to stop.”
The performance at Giggles, the hospital’s children’s theater, was part of the Eva’s Village summer program, said Donna Fico, the organization’s director of marketing and education. “Part of the program this year included community service opportunities,” Fico said. The children also cleaned a playground at the apartments owned by Eva’s Village on Pine Street and spruced up the grounds of the primary location, Fico said.
Their show consisted of four choreographed dance routines, followed by poetry readings. The show was streamed live to the hospital patients in their rooms. At the end, children watching from their hospital rooms could phone in and talk with the performers, ranging in age from 5 to 12. A young girl named Jalin called. “I liked the dancing,” Jalin said. “I knew the music and recognized the melody.”