"THAT'S ENTERTAINMENT!" Celebrating Career Transition For Dancers', 20th Anniversary Jubilee
By: Jeannie Lieberman
Jason Samuels Smith and Friends tap dance
The packed lobby of The City Center, New York’s mecca for dance, was bathed in the scent of expensive perfume as glittering patrons in the latest designer fashions paid up to $1,000 a person to attend the performance and a post-performance 'Anniversary Waltz Supper with the Stars', auction and dancing at the Sheraton New York and young dancers who paid up to $100 for the bleacher seats.
The event "THAT'S ENTERTAINMENT!" was a spectacular benefit celebrating Career Transition For Dancers', 20th Anniversary Jubilee, an organization that has helped over 3,000 professional dancers identify their unique talents in preparation for establishing new careers when dance is no longer an option.
Richard Move as “Martha Graham, Mother of Contemporary Dance”
The indomitable Liza Minnelli launched the dance journey, noting that “ while dance in the Old World was elitist and trickled down to the masses, in our country it started with the masses and trickled upward” giving a special shout out to New York’s famous jazz teacher, Luigi, in the audience. It was a stellar night not only of stars that are but of stars that were in the varied and wonderful world of Dance.
Urban Anatomy’s Crazy Legs & Rock Steady Crew with DJ Slynkee hip hop
Opening the multi faceted evening were Mr. Wiggles, World Cup Shooting Stars AllStar Cheerleading , and the ABT Studio Company in a number especially created for the show. This was a perfect segue for Gala producer & director Ann Marie DeAngelo; to introduce Richard Move as “Martha Graham, Mother of Contemporary Dance” paying homage to “ a century of dance" .from Fokine, Isadora Duncan, Ruth St. Dennis, to Robbins and Fosse citing “there are only two types of dance: good and bad”. A whole spectrum of dance was represented from frivolous ( Big Apple Circus, Cirque du Soleil ) to fun (Urban Anatomy Hip Hop ) to fantastic (Momix MilleniumSkiva ); from sexy (Bebe Neuwirth in Fosse’s All That Jazz ) to somber (Arpino’s RUTH:Ricordi Per Due) to sublime ( ABT’s Paquita Pas de Deux); from syncopation ( Jason Samuels Smith and Friends tap dance) to snappy (Urban Anatomy’s Crazy Legs & Rock Steady Crew with DJ Slynkee hip hop) to smooth (Stepping Out tribute to Astaire & Ginger) to spectacular solo (Desmond Richardson’s Showman’s Groove).
Cirque du Soleil's Kevin Gibbs and Sara Joel perform Fling! with music by Jean-Francois Blais and costumes by Raven O
Beloved dance icons like Marge Champion, Karen Ziemba, Cynthia Gregory, Sandy Duncan, Donald Saddler, Mercedes Ellington, and Jerry Mitchell presented awards to the evening’s honorees: The Harkness Foundation for Dance , Gerald Arpino, co-founder and Artistic Director of the Joffrey Ballet, Lewis Ranieri, CEO of the American Ballet Theater, and Patricia Kennedy, chair of the evening’s 20th Anniversary event.
The evening ended on a high note as "The Last Mambo" featuring Dance Times Square brought it on home to the roar of the appreciative crowd which rewarded the performers with three curtain calls.
Cast Curtain Call. Photo by Jack Quinn, Theaterscene.net
October 24, 2005 at 7:00 pm at City Center, E. 56th Street, New York