Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Ladies Who Lunch: Career Transition for Dancers Gala

During Fashion Week in September, the divine Ms.FABulous told me about the 25th Anniversary Silver Jubilee Gala to benefit the Career Transition for Dancers organization.  I was thrilled to find out the the gala would be taking place when I would be back in NY in November and I immediately purchased a ticket to the event.
Myself a former dancer, this event was of particular interest to me.  As a dancer, you eat, sleep and breath dance from a very young age and it becomes a deep and integral part of you, no matter to where you move on.  I used to think of it almost like those people that had left the Soviet Union; it was a home that would always live within, yet you could never really return.  Transitioning from the dancer life to other fields can be a major challenge and the Career Transition for Dancers organization is a vital force in aiding dancers in that process.
The gala was held at City Center Theater on 55th Street with a packed house in attendance.  I had performed at City Center with the Béjart Ballet many moons ago, yet had never sat in the theater for a performance.  The Moorish influence decor was still stunning and although seated in the Gallery, I had a wonderful vantage point for the performances.

Hosted by Angela Lansbury, the program featured performances by Jacques D’Amboise’s National Dance Celebration Team, the cast of 42nd Street, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, the Joffrey BAllet, The Last Mambo, Momix, American Ballet Theater’s Yuriko Kajiya and Daniil Simkin performing the Don Quixote Pas de Deux, the cast of Chicago with the incredible Bebe Neuwirth.  The program was diverse and each performance was a masterpiece of artistry.

The Rolex Dance Award was presented to a gracious Twyla Tharp by the dance legend Edward Villella.  The gala closed with a new work by Marvin Hamlisch “I’m Really Dancing” with Mr. Hamlisch on piano and an all star cast of performers including Charlotte D’Amboise, Bebe Neuwirth, Ann Reinking, Chita Rivera, ABT II, and the American Tap Dance Foundation Youth Program.
Recently starved for live theater and especially dance, the evening was both nostalgic and exhilarating; taking me back to my youth and reminding why I had fallen in love with dance so many many years ago.