By Jill Colvin
MIDTOWN — Hundreds of young dancers braved the rain Saturday for their chance to perform on Broadway for the 10th anniversary of Project Dance.
The event, which started after 9/11 with the goal of restoring hope in the city, returned to Times Square for a day of performances by students and professionals from across the world.
"It's an amazing feeling," said dancer Ana Ingbrigsten, 19, who traveled from Houston, Texas, with her Christian dance troupe, "Ad Deum," to perform in the show for a second year in a row.
She said that performing in the middle of Times Square is like nothing else.
"People just stop what they're doing," she said. "There's no other feeling like being outside."
Project Dance founder Cheryl Cutlip, who spent 15 years as a Radio City Rockette, said the event started after Sept. 11 as a way to give back to the city and share the joy of dance.
Project Dance now has chapters throughout the world, with troupes who perform across the country and as far away as Australia and Hong Kong.
The program also aims to nurture up-and-coming dancers, who travel to New York each year to take part.
"They love to come and dance on Broadway," she said. "Just the idea of being able to dance on that avenue is a dream come true for them."
But the rain, which poured by late afternoon, posed a challenge, with several dancers slipping and falling as they tried to dance.
"It's dangerous. But we're kind of just making that sacrifice," a determined Ingbrigsten said.
Randall Flinn, 53, Ad Deum's artistic director and an event coordinator for Project Dance, said that he was just happy to see so many people turn out and praised the performers for pushing through.
"It's absolutely awesome to see over 300 people who are giving it their all," he said. "Even in the weather, their hearts are fully committed."
And passers-by who braved the downpour were also impressed.
"I could stand and watch this all day," said Andrea Taylor, 21, on vacation from Utah, as she stood huddled under an umbrella.