DYCD, Hosts Harlem Step It Up Team As They Captured Second At Apollo Theater

June 20, 2023

The New York City Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD) hosted the 15th annual Step it Up finale at the Apollo Theater in Harlem.

During this the top 10 teams competed for a grand prize of $2,500. This year’s theme was Stop the Violence/Honoring the 50th Anniversary of Hip Hop.

For the first time, Step It Up is a marquee event under the Mayor’s Cup, managed by the NYC Mayor’s Office of Sports, Wellness and Recreation (MOSWR). The top three teams selected by a panel of judges were: POVX (first place), Push Dance Group (second place), and LBX-Leaders by Example (third place). Secret Society Dance Company was awarded for social impact.

“Giving young people a platform to express their creativity, share their voice, and inspire the change they want to see has made Step it Up one of DYCD’s signature events for the past 15 years,” said DYCD Commissioner Keith Howard. “This year’s program was especially noteworthy because it provided youth a stage to showcase the old and the new—celebrating 50 years of hip hop while creating social impact campaigns around the very real present-day issue of gun violence in their communities. Congratulations to the final ten teams for making it this far, and the top three groups selected by our judges. On behalf of the NYC Mayor’s Office of Sports, Wellness and Recreation and all our event partners, thank you for making Step it Up 2023 such a powerful evening.”

Step It Up is a dynamic initiative that provides a creative platform for participants and their families to express their social impact voice through the art of dance, and effect sustainable change in their communities. By using their dance performances as a medium, these talented teams raise awareness about pertinent issues affecting their neighborhoods. Additionally, each team actively engages in a social awareness campaign, amplifying their message and inspiring others to join their cause.

The 2023 Step it Up competition kicked off in February when nearly 50 teams of young people aged 10 to 21 competed in two rounds of auditions. Each dance group was asked to choreograph a piece that would help to raise awareness and express their opinion on various social issues.

The finale was emceed by J’Nelle Agee, the senior producer at Oprah Daily.

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Final ten teams by borough:



Organization: Neighborhood Initiatives Development Corporation

Program Site: Eastchester Community Center

’31 S.L.A.Y.

Organization: Aspira of New York, Inc

Program Site: J.H.S. 131 Albert Einstein

Stand 4 Justice

Organization: Good Shepherd Services

Program Site: Thomas C. Giordano M.S. 45

LBX-Leaders by Example

Organization: Phipps Neighborhoods, Inc.

Program Site: Soundview Community Center


Diva Bees

Organization: New York Edge

Program Site: P.S. 66


Kidz Next Door

Organization: South Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation

Program Site: Thurgood Marshall Academy for Learning and Social Change


Organization: Kips Bay Boys and Girls Club Inc.

Program Site: P.S. 138 Samuel Randall

Push Dance Group

Organization: The Children’s Village

Program Site: Drew Hamilton Community Center


Secret Society Dance Company

Organization: HANAC, Inc.

Program Site: Astoria Community Center

Staten Island

MTB-Meant to Be

Organization: United Activities Unlimited, Inc.

Program Site: P.S. 18 John G. Whittier

Photo credit is NYC Department of Youth and Community Development.

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