Bright Lights! Shining Stars!, a gala event to benefit the New York City Dance Alliance Foundation, will honor the legendary Roberta Flack with the NYCDAF’s first Ambassador for the Arts Award and will celebrate the Foundation’s awarding of over $2.8 million in college scholarships so far this year. The star studded evening of song and dance directed by renowned choreographer, dancer and instructor Joe Lanteri will also feature the presentation of $50,000 in additional college scholarships to be awarded to promising young dancers.
Highlights of the evening will include the reunion of Lin-Manuel Miranda and the cast of the Pulitzer Prize and Tony Ward winning musical In the Heights especially for this event; a special appearance by Broadway’s Billy Elliot, a solo performance by Desmond Richardson of Complexions Contemporary Ballet, recipient of the 2011 60th Capezio Dance Award and hailed by The New York Times as “one of the great modern dancers of his time,”; Clifton Brown formerly with Alvin Ailey; Tony nominee Karine Plantadit from Come Fly Away; a special tribute in song & dance to the incomparable Ms. Flack and much more.
Honorary Co-Chairs of the gala are Cassandra Seidenfeld-Lyster and Robin Cofer. The Event Committee includes Kimberly Tiberi-Adams, Lisa Danias, Nancy Epstein, Christopher Freer, Cindy Lapes and Liz Tillotson. NYCDAF Honorary Committee includes: Ava Astaire McKenzie, Andy Blankenbuehler, Jacques d’Amboise, Susan Jaffe, Jerry Mitchell, Desmond Richardson, Chita Rivera and Michael Terlizzi. NYCDA Choreographers are Chloe Arnold, Andy Blankenbuehler, A C Ciulla, Scott Jovovich and Andy Pellick.
The NYCDA Foundation is dedicated to empowering the next generation of professional dancers by advocating education and offering scholarships for secondary and college training. For the past 16 years, the NYCDA has lead the industry in offering professional weekend conventions exposing young dancers to the best of the New York City dance world in a supportive, positive and fun environment and helping them take their first steps into the professional world.
Under the auspices of Executive Director Joe Lanteri the NYC Dance Alliance National Dance Convention, the culmination of scores of local gatherings held throughout the year, has become the single most important scouting opportunity for college and university recruiters and their scholarship committees. No surprise as NYCDA alumni number among the ranks of such dance companies as Alvin Ailey, Cedar Lake Ballet; scarcely a Broadway musical is without a dancer from NYCDA and the world famed Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular recruits much of it young talent via NYCDA.
Pictured right, Gala Honorary co-chair Cassandra Seidenfeld Lyster and Gala Honoree Roberta Flack.