Queens youth shine in the Police Athletic League’s ‘Showstoppers: 50 Years of Hip-Hop’ event

This year’s PAL Showstoppers Winners included PAL’s Pathways Prep Dance Team, Pathways Prep Drumline and Goldie Maple Academy.
Photo courtesy of PAL

On Apr. 24, a group of Queens youngsters took first, second and third place at the Police Athletic League’s (PAL) annual Showstoppers event, held at the Theater at City Tech College in downtown Brooklyn.

This year’s theme celebrated “50 Years of Hip-Hop,” and over 5,000 PAL members teamed up to display an amazing array of choreographed performances using show-stopping costumes and props. Co-ed teams of up to 15 PAL kids of all ages participated in the fast-paced competition, and their families, community officers and a panel of special guest judges enjoyed a night filled with joy.  

St. Albans‘ PAL’s Pathways Prep Dance Team and Drumline took first and second place respectively, while Arverne’s Goldie Maple Academy took third place in the competition. The winning PAL centers will have plaques engraved for display, and the first-place winner will receive a $500 experiential award. 

Many of the young performers voiced their excitement about the Showstoppers event.   

“My center is performing to a mix of Hip-Hop songs, and we learned how Hip-Hop has persevered throughout the years,” said Jazmyne Fletcher, 13, of PAL’s Pathways Prep. “It’s all about having energy in your performance and facial expressions and doing the best you can.” 

Tomia Acosta, 10, a member of Goldie Maple Academy, said she was happy to have the opportunity to compete in the showcase. “The dances back then were much easier to learn,” she said.

Meanwhile, Edlyn Celestin, 11, said she was excited to show off her routine. “We’ve practiced for weeks, and our performance is all about attitude, energy and swagger. The best part of our routine is the kicks at the end,” she said.

This year’s “50- Years of Hip Hop” theme brought out the creativity of each PAL center’s vision of artists who have inspired the music genre over the past five decades. The Showstoppers event was DJ’d by DJ Smooth, and all PAL kids received custom PAL Showstopper Hip-Hop bucket hats and t-shirts as a take-home keepsake. 

Meredith Gray, PAL’s director of program development and partnership, said it was incredible to watch the participants’ creativity and talents come to life on the big stage. 

Founded in 1914, the PAL is a nonprofit organization that provides recreational, educational, cultural and social activities to 15,000 children and teens across New York City. For more information, visit www.palnyc.org