Hands are for Holding has reached almost 6,000 New York City students in the last three years to raise awareness of teen dating violence and provide strategies for seeking help or helping a friend.

Hands are for Holding is an interactive school-based program that uses dance as a tool for preventing violence and promoting healthy relationships. Professional dancers from Gibney Dance Company perform a series of dances that explore trust, negotiation, equality and comfort; issues essential for a successful dance as well as a healthy relationship. The dances provide a dynamic and unexpected point of entry for meaningful discussion, led by mental health professionals, focused on identifying signs of bullying, abusive relationships and providing preventative actions for young people.

Hands are for Holding Assembly

The one-hour, school-based Hands are for Holding program simultaneously addresses the socio-emotional health of young people, and exposes them to high-quality art. Appropriate for grades 4-12, the program uses dances, followed by talk-backs, to showcase elements common in romances or friendships that can be misconceived as love as opposed to warning signs of unhealthy relationships. Additionally it provides information on healthy communication, boundaries, respect and ways that young people can seek help if they ever find themselves in an abusive relationship.

The dances, praised by The New York Times for “great intelligence and almost literary sensitivity,” are performed by Gibney Dance Company.  Gibney’s work is distinguished by intricately crafted movement episodes with a sense of deep connection and emotional inevitability. Gibney Dance Company has performed in numerous prestigious venues including but not limited to Danspace Project, Symphony Space, The Guggenheim Museum, Baryshnikov Arts Center, The Duke on 42nd Street, Yale Repertory Theater, The Joyce Theater, Ailey Citigroup Theater and is excited to perform to young audiences in New York City schools.

Please contact Devin Oshiro at devin@gibneydance.org or at 646-837-6809 for availability and pricing.

From the Audience

“Gibney Dance incorporated many social issues that occur today that need to be addressed.”

– Student, Lower Manhattan Academy of Arts

“Aside from beautiful dancing and choreography executed by talented, professional performers, the assembly opened up a dialogue amongst our students that was invaluable. We experienced ongoing reflection by the students after the performance, and an interest in discussing their experience as audience members, the work and the message.”

– Teacher, Williamsburg Charter High School

“Thank you for providing students with such a powerful performance experience. Students considered healthy relationships as well as how dance can be used to impact change.”

– Teacher, Brooklyn International High School

“This was fantastic and a great way to engage students in an important issue through dance and art”

– Guidance Counselor, Forsyth Satellite Academy


Thank you to our lead sponsor, Spectrum, for its generous support of Hands are for Holding.

Thank you to Day One and the Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence for their ongoing partnership with Gibney Dance through Hands are for Holding.