Enter, Bebe Neuwirth

In a glass-walled room above New York’s 42nd Street, a group of dancers sit around a conference table, listening closely to Annette Lieberman explain why they need a financial plan. There are women in their 20s and men in their 40s, dancers just starting out and dancers looking a career transition in the face.
“Each of you is an entrepreneur, not an employee,” says Lieberman, author of The Money Mirror: How Money Reflects Women’s Dreams, Fears and Desires. “Even if you have a gig, you need to remember you’re in business for yourself. No one’s going to take care of you, especially in show business.”

The financial straight talk is part of “Healing the Dancer,” a seminar presented last May by the Dancers’ Resource, a new initiative of The Actor’s Fund. Brainchild of Broadway triple threat Bebe Neuwirth, DR aims to help active dancers deal with the rigors of professional life and plan for the future.

  Neuwirth realized when she was recovering from hip replacement surgery several years ago that many dancers had to face the challenge of coming back from an injury without the network of support she could draw on. “If you’re a dancer you probably have injury, financial woes, stress,” she says. “It’s exacerbated by the need for secrecy. Dancers can’t let anyone know they’re hurt because they’re so replacable.”

The Actor’s Fund offers many services to help dancers, but Neuwirth realized that few took advantage of them. So she raised the seed money to launch a special outreach program to the dance community. DR now employs a full-time social worker, Alice Vienneau, as coordinator. The initiative will periodically hold seminars like “Healing the Dancer,” which offered free workshops on nutrition and injury prevention, emotional wellness, and financial counseling. It will also plug dancers into ongoing services, support groups, and referrals.

Neuwirth hopes the program will help dancers realize that they need not struggle alone with the rigor of a dance life. “You get a group of dancers in the room, and whether they’re a Paul Taylor dancer or a Rockette, they speak the same language,” she says. “We’re all the same animal and the goal is that dancers now know the Actor’s Fund is there for them.”

Teachers Trending
Evelyn Cisneros-Legate. Photo by Beau Pearson, Courtesy Ballet West

Evelyn Cisneros-Legate is bringing her hard-earned expertise to Ballet West. The former San Francisco Ballet star is taking over all four campuses of The Frederick Quinney Lawson Ballet West Academy as the school's new director.

Cisneros-Legate, whose mother put her in ballet classes in an attempt to help her overcome her shyness, trained at the San Francisco Ballet School and School of American Ballet before joining San Francisco Ballet as a full company member in 1977. She danced with the company for 23 years, breaking barriers as the first Mexican American to become a principal dancer in the U.S., and has graced the cover of Dance Magazine no fewer than three times.

As an educator, Cisneros-Legate has served as ballet coordinator at San Francisco Ballet, principal of Boston Ballet School's North Shore Studio and artistic director of after-school programming at the National Dance Institute (NDI). Dance Teacher spoke with her about her new position, her plans for the academy and leading in the time of COVID-19.

Keep reading... Show less
The author with Maurice Hines. Photo by Anthony R. Phillips, courtesy Hopkins

In March, prior to sheltering in place due to the coronavirus outbreak, my husband and I traveled from New York City to Miami to screen our award-winning documentary, Maurice Hines: Bring Them Back, at the Miami Film Festival.

Our star, Tony Award–nominated dancer and choreographer Maurice Hines joined us in Miami for the festival—stepping and repeating on the opening night red carpet, sharing anecdotes from his illustrious seven-decade career with local tap students, and holding court at a cocktail mixer with lively female fans.

Keep reading... Show less
Haruko Photography, courtesy ABT

Gabe Stone Shayer may be American Ballet Theatre's newest soloist, but he never dreamed he'd be dancing with the company at all. Though he grew up in Philadelphia, his sights were always set on international ventures—especially The Bolshoi Ballet and The Royal Ballet.

Even in his early training, he was learning from Russian educators: Alexander Boitsov at Gwendolyn Bye Dance Center, and Alexei and Natalia Cherov, from the Koresh School of Dance. At age 13, he transferred to The Rock School for Dance Education, where he danced until his acceptance to The Bolshoi Ballet Academy at age 14. At 16, Shayer returned to spend his summer in the States and attended ABT's summer intensive—fully intent on going back to Bolshoi to continue his training in the fall. Four weeks in, he was offered a studio-company contract. "I was so surprised," Shayer says. "Having come of age in Russia, I was very Eurocentric. Of course ABT was on my radar, I just never imagined it was for me."

Keep reading... Show less

Get Dance Business Weekly in your inbox

Sign Up Used in accordance with our Privacy Policy.