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One World - Career Transition for Dancers 21st Anniversary Jubilee

by Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
October 23, 2006
New York City Center
130 West 56th Street
(Audience Entrance is on West 55th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues)
(Entrance for Studios and Offices is on West 56th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues)
New York, NY 10019
212.247.0430
Honoring: Chita Rivera
(Chita Rivera Website)

Rudolf Nureyev Dance Foundation
(Nureyev Foundation Website)

Career Transition for Dancers
www.careertransition.org
212.764.0172

Presented by Rolex

Produced and Directed by Anne Marie DeAngelo
Executive Producer, Alexander J. Dubé
Script by Deborah Grace Winer
Music Coordinator, Jim Morgan
Lighting Designer, Brad Fields
Production Stage Manager, Lori Rosecrans Wekselblatt
Press Representatives, KPM Associates,
Kevin P. McAnarney and Grant Lindsey
Gala Coordinator, Caitlin Grater


(See That's Entertainment! Review, October 24, 2005)

About the Author:
Tonight's 21st anniversary Career Transition for Dancers Gala, in which dance stars, new and seasoned, perform and speak in honor of their colleagues and protégées, to benefit a worthy cause for dancers who reach ripe middle age, suffer injuries or layoff, or retire to a new career. Each year, an elegant Gala, with a theme that strongly connects the performances and loosely connects the speeches, is held at City Center, and this year's event was a lovely series of international dancers and culturally eclectic dances (performed by renowned US dance companies). Also, each year, a Rolex watch, of dramatic design, is awarded to a seasoned dance personality, who is deserving of extraordinary recognition. Chita Rivera, who still dances and performs, at more than middle years, was this year's recipient. Ms. Rivera was generous in her comments and charming onstage. The Rudolf Nureyev Foundation, which, according to the notes, "seeks to preserve and protect the history and tradition of dance", "aims to perpetuate Rudolf Nureyev's name", and "aims to carry on the legacy that …Nureyev…left behind", was also grandly honored. Barry Weinstein, of the Nureyev Foundation, accepted the award.

Hosts were Liza Minelli, who was in rare and ingenuous form, proudly speaking of her new shape and gratitude to the organizers, and grandly introducing her friend, Ms. Rivera. Also speaking were Mercedes Ellington (in a tall, colorful hat and dress, introducing Ballet de Monterray), Bebe Neuwirth (Opening Remarks), Anne Marie DeAngelo (introducing Lorena Feijoo), and Sutton Foster (presenting the award to Mr. Weinstein). All of these speakers were in glamorous attire and gracious speaking style. Drum Café NY opened this event with pulsating African drums, dance, and drama. Sounds of Korea followed Ms. Neuwirth's remarks, to continue the lengthy, intermission-less event, with a dance with fans in exquisite timing and tones. The musicians played an hour glass drum, a 12-stringed zither, and a bamboo flute. One World was taking shape. Next was the Parul Shah Dance Company, with two lovely dancers in Kathak form, and musicians on sarangi, tabla, and sitar. Four Thunderbird American Indian Dancers did a hoop dance, with hoops on the floor suddenly moving to their arms, legs, and torsos. This dance is listed a as a ritual test of skills.

Sachiyo Ito, dancing Fuji Musume (Wisteria Maiden), is a seasoned Kabuki dancer, who performed to traditional Nagauta music. She was mesmerizing and intense. Then, China was represented with the Red Ribbon Dance, presented by Dance China NY. Seven dancers sprung yards of red ribbons into the air, wrapping them onto the wrists and letting them go into enormous streamers about the stage. The ribbons formed shapes and imagery of dramatic red. Ologunde danced Capoeira, a Brazilian dance, about breaking the chains of slavery. There was poignant and underlying social content in much of tonight's multi-cultural program. Gennadi Saveliev, of American Ballet Theatre, soon danced his signature Gopak, a Gala favorite, with exotic costuming and athletic prowess and potency. Mr. Saveliev wowed the audience with backward turns and circular leaps and spins. This muscular dance is always a hit in such eclectic events.

Lorena Feijoo, of San Francisco Ballet, then performed an excerpt of Lambarena, with a score by Bach and traditional African music. Val Caniparoli choreographed this fused work, with its powerfully percussive textures. Ballet de Monterrey, 10 dancers performing Huapango, choreographed by Robert Hill to Pablo Moncayo's score, was extremely contemporary, buoyant, and well received. This Company will surely return to New York. The next act was James Earl Jones, reading an excerpt from Duke Ellington's show, My People, accompanied by Jay Leonhart on bass. This was not a dance, but, rather, a spoken, poetic tribute, and Mr. Leonhart was perfectly suited to the duo genre. Bass as solo instrument can be dramatic. Soon the Balam Dance Theatre, in the solo by Kristina Berger, performed Hanuman the Monkey King, choreography by Carlos Fittante. This Hindu dance was entertaining and exotic.

Noah Racey and Straight Up!!! (from da Wigz), choreographed by Mr. Wiggles, was next, with hip-hop, rap, and spinning dervish dances to energize the evening. Donny Golden School of Irish Dance was splendidly timed in kicks and fancy footwork, inherent to this genre. Another hit of this Gala was The Joffrey Ballet's world premiere of San Juan: allegro san sabor!. Two Joffrey Ballet dancers, Megan Quiroz and Willy Shives, teamed with two dancers of Luna Negra Dance Theater, Vanessa Valecillos and Ricardo J. Garcia, in stunning new choreography by Pedro Ruiz, to a score by Eric Lewis, conceived and produced by Patricia Kennedy. (See an interview with Pedro Ruiz). This was Salsa in modern motif. The closing performance was Beat of Love, electrically presented by National Dance Institute of New Mexico and Rosie's Broadway Kids. The singer was Billy Porter, with choreography by Catherine Oppenheimer and Lori Klinger. Music is by Jim Morgan and Ann Marie DeAngelo. City Center pulsated with the percussive power of this enormous ensemble.

Kudos to Career Transition for Dancers for One World, another creative and collaborative Gala event.
CTFD Gala - Liza Minnelli

CTFD Gala - Liza Minnelli

Photo © & courtesy of Richard Termine


CTFD Gala - Liza Minnelli

CTFD Gala - Liza Minnelli

Photo © & courtesy of Richard Termine


CTFD Gala - Liza Minnelli & Chita Rivera

CTFD Gala - Liza Minnelli & Chita Rivera

Photo © & courtesy of Richard Termine


CTFD Gala - Chita Rivera

CTFD Gala - Chita Rivera

Photo © & courtesy of Richard Termine


CTFD Gala - Ballet de Monterrey

CTFD Gala - Ballet de Monterrey

Photo © & courtesy of Richard Termine


CTFD Gala - Ballet de Monterrey

CTFD Gala - Ballet de Monterrey

Photo © & courtesy of Richard Termine


CTFD Gala - Noah Racey

CTFD Gala - Noah Racey

Photo © & courtesy of Richard Termine


CTFD Gala - Noah Racey

CTFD Gala - Noah Racey

Photo © & courtesy of Richard Termine


CTFD Gala - Mr. Wiggles

CTFD Gala - Mr. Wiggles

Photo © & courtesy of Richard Termine


CTFD Gala - Chita Rivera and Allen Brill, President and CEO of Rolex Watch U.S.A., Inc.

CTFD Gala - Chita Rivera and Allen Brill, President and CEO of Rolex Watch U.S.A., Inc.

Photo © & courtesy of Richard Termine

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