where children and teens explore, discover, and experience the magic of the performing arts. Located in Catholic Charities' Lt. Joseph P. Kennedy Community Center, known to generations of Harlem families, PPA classes are taught in a non-traditional setting, and in non-traditional spaces.

At Project Performing Arts, Dance, and Theater Arts classes along with West African, and Bucket Drumming are available to children and youth in a robust schedule of Saturday classes. In addition, IMANI Dance, a Pre-professional dance program provides a 2 and a 1/2-hour workshop class on Friday with accompanying Saturday technique/style classes.

PPA provides a year long school program that consist of one, 17 - week semester and a 18 week semester.. The fall/winter and winter/spring sessions offer classes where children/teens are exposed to and enriched by participation in performing arts classes. The PPA program of dance, theater arts and drumming classes are age appropriate and offers  a skill developmental curriculum and instruction . 

The fall/winter session culminates with a Parent/Family Open House at the end of January while the winter/spring session of the PPA year culminates in June with OnSTAGE! The Recital. 



Founder & Artistic Director

Nina Klyvert-Lawson, is a dance educator, performing arts manager and  the Founder and Artistic Director of Project Performing Arts, located at the Lt. Joseph P. Kennedy Center, Catholic Charities in Harlem. An Emerson College graduate, she has a BA in Theater Education, specializing in Dance; she also has a Master’s in Dance Education from Teachers College, Columbia University. Last year, Project Performing Arts celebrated 5 years of empowering children and youth through Dance, Theater Arts and West African Drumming classes. 

Nina's passion for the arts, began at an early age with participation in creative dance and theater classes at a Bronx community center. Her professional training began in middle school studying dance at Juilliard School’s Preparatory Program, and  continued as a scholarship recipient at The Ailey School. Upon graduation from Teachers College. Nina continued her training at the Ailey School with the Third Company under the direction of Kelvin Rotardier, and Ailey II under the direction of Sylvia Waters. Additional dance training included Clark Center, Joy of Movement (Cambridge), Boston Ballet, Alpha Omega Theatrical Dance Company and Broadway Dance Center just to name a few. Her film and Off-Broadway credits include Secrets of Sahara, The Eddie Files “Welcome to Math: You Gotta Start Somewhere”, and with Ty Stephens’ Shades of Harlem and Jazz Alley. As a master teacher/choreographer/instructor, she has taught in Italy, and at Yale University, Teaneck High School, Rye Arts Center, Mind Builders and as an adjunct instructor at Bergen Community College.

Ms. Nina as she’s called by her students began her arts management career at Boys and Girls Harbor Conservatory for the Performing Arts under the direction of Ramon Rodriguez. During her 23-year tenure she served as a dance instructor, the Dance Program Director and the Artistic Director of the Conservatory. She was responsible for creating, developing and implementing various programs for after-school, Saturday Enrichment, Boys and Girls Harbor's East Hampton camp, and GESTURES Dance Ensemble. Nina was also responsible for the design and implementation of the performing arts “Contracted Services” for Public and Charter School institutions. In addition, her creative efforts were instrumental in the performance elements of the Conservatory’s annual fundraisers.

A former NYSCA panelist, Nina also served on the Archdiocese of New York's Entertainment Committee for the 2008 Papal Visit. She is currently a member of the CMOM (Children's Museum of Manhattan) Dance Advisory Board and a member of Fractured Atlas. Nina has been the Director/Choreographer of the Liturgical Dance Ministry of St. Charles Borromeo, Chapel of Resurrection and All Saints Church since 1993. 

As the founder of Project Performing Arts, Nina trusts that the classes instructed by PPA's talented creative team will expand every child’s and teen's horizons, that PPA classes will feed their curiosity and passions, and that every experience will afford each to discover a different part of themselves, and be empowered through the arts.



Emilio Cabrera


Assistant to the Director

Theater Elements  

Ballet Fundamentals

Blanca Alonso




Lisa Alberty


Show Choir    

Drums & Songs

Musical Theater Workshop

Dave Alston


Djembe & Djun Djun

Bucket Drumming

Drums & Songs

Aatifa Drayton


West African Teen Dance

Beginner West African Dance

Tony Harris


West African Instructor


Qwadasia Lovett


First Position

Beginner West African

West African Teen Dance

Brittany Miller


Musical Theater Workshop

Beginner Hip Hop

Teen Hip Hop

Damazi Williams


Musical Theater Workshop

Beginner Tap