Giving Back

Yorktown Dance Event Raises Awareness, Funds to Fight Childhood Cancer

Sonia Rita and her daughter, Isabel, the inspiration for Izzy’s Infantry Fighting Pediatric Cancer and Spinal Trauma, which next Saturday's event will benefit. Credits: Sonia Rita

YORKTOWN, N.Y. - On Saturday, Jan. 21, dancers from studios throughout Westchester County will take to Yorktown Stage to showcase their talents in an event called Dancers Against Cancer.

The event, led by Alexis Diaz Menendez, owner of Street Beatz Dance Studio in Cortlandt Manor, will benefit Izzy’s Infantry Fighting Pediatric Cancer and Spinal Trauma, a non-profit organization that provides funding for childhood cancer research and support programs to patients and their families

Menendez started Dancers Against Cancer three years ago. Inspired by her mother’s own fight against cancer, Menendez knew that she had to help find a cure in her own way; by doing what she loves for a cause about which she is deeply passionate.

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“I love to dance and it’s a blessing to be able to take my love of dance and turn it into something that can help the community at large,” Menendez said of the event.

This year’s event has a little extra meaning for Menendez, who chose to work with fellow Yorktown High School class of 2001 alumna, Sonia Rita, co-founder and president of Izzy’s Infantry.

“I’ve been following Sonia’s daughter’s battle with cancer for some time now, so it was an obvious choice for me this year,” Menendez added.

Rita added, “My heart was racing and I was over the moon when Alexis reached out to me about Dancers Against Cancer. I had just received confirmation of our 501(c)(3) status for Izzy’s Infantry and to get an opportunity like this was more than I could have expected so soon after starting my own non-profit, but especially in honor of my little girl.”

Rita co-founded Izzy’s Infantry in August 2016 after witnessing her 1-year-old Isabel, who is referred to as Izzy Warrior Princess, battle a spinal cord tumor through 42 chemotherapy infusions over the course of 14 months.

“It was a tough time and Izzy is doing much better now though we have a long road to full recovery, but even in the midst of watching Izzy suffer all the worst side effects of chemo I knew I had to do something for her and every child facing a cancer diagnoses,” Rita said of her reason behind starting the non-profit organization.

She added, “Izzy had just turned 1 when she was faced with the battle of her lifetime and this was the best way I could think of honoring her bravery and fight.”

Menendez said Dancers Against Cancer has helped pave the way for local studios to come together as well and is incredibly grateful for their participation.  She said she enjoys working with the people at the various studios participating, which include: Spotlight Studios of Performing Arts, Dance Expression, Star Struck and The Pulse. Last year’s event raised more than $9,000.

Dancers Against Cancer will take place at the Yorktown Stage at 2 p.m. The cost of admission is $20. For more information, please contact:

For more information on Izzy’s Infantry, please email

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