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Our Legacy

The Edge School of the Arts (ESOTA) was founded in 1996 and modeled after the prominent Bernice Johnson Cultural Arts Center, which stood as a beacon of cultural and artistic excellence in Southeast Queens for almost 50 years.


Beverly Edge (our Facilities Manager), was among BJ’s first students, and Beverly’s daughters – Donna, Wendy, and Kerri followed in their mother’s footsteps. In 1993, Kerri formed the children’s dance ensemble KECDE! (kekda) within the walls of the BJCAC. When BJ’s health declined, Beverly, Donna, Wendy and Kerri decided they could best continue her legacy by opening their own school and the Edge School of the Arts opened its doors in September of 1996. The school is family owned, and operated by management and teachers with years of professional dance training and experience.


Over the past 26 years, ESOTA has dedicated itself to bringing the art of African American dance to young aspiring artists and both community and international audiences. Our Artistic Director, Kerri Edge, is a visionary and is creative mind behind the organization’s programming. She has created a repertoire of works that celebrate African-American achievement and the development and administration of creative arts programming that exposes young people to multiple art genres incorporated with academic concepts.


Our Accomplishments (click to view)


Our Impact

While we offer high-quality dance instruction, our learning goes beyond the art and creativity developed by our phenomenal faculty in the classroom and viewed on stage by audiences. ESOTA kids learn how to work collaboratively. They’re taught the significance of giving back to their community and helping others through neighborhood beautification projects and student teaching. Our kids develop life skills, through local performances, including leadership, public speaking, history, writing, and research. They’re trained to become artivists…..using dance as their voice to teach history to audiences of all ages, while advocating for social justice issues. A village of teachers, managers, class moms, parents and mentors, teach the lessons learned both in and outside of the classroom, which prepare them for the workforce.


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