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When Steps on Broadway founder Carol Paumgarten called Joe Lanteri several times in a row in February 2018, his first guess was that she wanted to get him back on the faculty roster. "For decades, I taught jazz at 4:30 pm at Steps," he says, "but a couple years ago, I had to let go of that class to free up some time."

To Lanteri's surprise, Paumgarten told him she was ready to move away from her place at Steps' helm. He was on her list of possible successors. "When she brought it up, I laughed," he says. "My life was already so full. But it took about 10 seconds for me to know I had to seriously consider it. Steps on Broadway is such an important part of the footprint of New York. It had to continue—and it had to remain recognizably Steps."

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Dance News
Joe Lanteri teaching at Steps in the early 2000s

The iconic New York City dance studio Steps on Broadway has a new leader coming on board: Joe Lanteri. The New York City Dance Alliance founder will be Steps' new co-owner and executive director.

"For me, it's a big full circle," says Lanteri, who used to take class at Steps when he first moved to New York City, and started teaching there in the mid-1980s. The 4:30 p.m. Tuesday/Thursday Advanced Intermediate Jazz slot he held down for many years taught a slew of young talent—including choreographers-to-be like Jessica Lang and Sergio Trujillo. "As a young teacher, Steps was a platform for me to travel the world giving master classes; it became the underlying foundation for what I'm doing now in my life."

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Dance News

Last night at The Joyce Theater, the New York City Dance Alliance Foundation hosted “Destiny Rising,” an evening of dance to benefit the organization’s college scholarship fund. Collegiate dancers, professional guest performers and future stars united onstage for two hours of fantastic dancing. Here are a few of the highlights.

Students from Inspire School of Dance in Naperville, Illinois, danced an impeccably rehearsed Love with Urgency to music by Mumford & Sons. The dancers, ranging in age from 13 to 18, blew me away with their full-bodied abandon, flawless technique and the unmatched cleanliness of their performance. If these dancers represent the future, things are looking extremely bright.

Ida Saki and Austin Goodwin in Alexandra Damiani's Animus

Former Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet artistic director Alexandra Damiani presented a hilariously quirky duet Animus, danced by Sleep No More cast members Ida Saki and Austin Goodwin. Filled with funny facial expressions, choppy gestures and serpentine partnering, the duet was a dose of nostalgia for Cedar Lake and an exciting glimpse into Damiani’s current choreographic undertakings.

Robert Fairchild performed a solo by Gene Kelly.

New York City Ballet superstars (and former NYCDA kids) Robert Fairchild and Tiler Peck were set to perform a duet by Liam Scarlett. However due to injury, the duet was changed to a solo. Fairchild whipped out a Gene Kelly solo, complete with hat, “jazz fingers” and his signature An American in Paris showmanship.

The best moment of the evening came when Mattie Love, NYCDA scholarship recipient and soon-to-be Marymount Manhattan College graduate, came onstage and talked about her experience. Nearly bursting into tears, she talked about the opportunities the scholarships provided her and how she was embraced by director Joe Lanteri and the whole NYCDA family. It just goes to show that at NYCDA, dreams do come true.

Since 2010, the NYCDA Foundation has raised roughly $17 million in college scholarships. Dance Magazine is privileged to support NYCDAF as a Gold Sponsor (donations of $25,000–$49,999).

Photos (from top): by Eduardo Patino; by Nina Wurtzel Photography (2), all courtesy of NYCDA

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Dance News

Chloé and Maud Arnold pose with NYCDAF Ambassador for the Arts, Debbie Allen.

Last night, the NYC Dance Alliance Foundation awarded Debbie Allen the 2015 NYCDAF Ambassador for the Arts Award at the annual “Bright Lights Shining Stars” gala. Held at the NYU Skirball Center for the Performing Arts, the event paid tribute to Allen through song, dance and celebration.

Highlights from the evening:

Chloé Arnold’s Syncopated Ladies opened the show with a bang! With ear-to-ear grins, their fierce quintet, set to music by Beyoncé, created a celebratory tone for the entire evening.

Kolton Krouse performs Andy Pellick's Path of Enlightenment.

NYCDA student Kolton Krouse performed a gravity-defying solo choreographed by NYCDA faculty member Andy Pellick. Krouse was later awarded the Adele Astaire College Scholarship by An American in Paris star Robert Fairchild.

Jessica Lee Goldyn and dancers perform "I'm a Brass Band" from Sweet Charity.

Broadway star Jessica Lee Goldyn and a chorus of male dancers performed “I’m a Brass Band” from Sweet Charity. With original choreography by Bob Fosse, this was hands-down my personal favorite from the evening.

Allen's daughter Vivian Nixon performed the role of Anita from West Side Story.

Allen’s daughter Vivian Nichole Nixon made a surprise appearance, reprising Allen’s Tony-nominated role, Anita from Jerome Robbins' West Side Story. Nixon's lively rendition of “America” proved that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

Dancesanity Stars' Karla Choko and Josen Torres showed that salsa can be enjoyed at any age, when they were joined onstage by their young students Nathalie Huiracocha and Felix Monge. The petite duet impressed—they held their own next to the professional duo.

Joe Lanteri stands with 2013 NYCDAF Ambassador for the Arts Catherine Zeta-Jones and her husband Michael Douglas. Zeta-Jones gave the welcome remarks at the top of the show.

Over the past five years, the NYCDA Foundation has awarded more than $17 million in college scholarships to hundreds of young dancers nationwide. Founded in 1993 by executive director Joe Lanteri, the NYCDA convention currently travels to 23 cities each season. Faculty includes Andy Blankenbuehler, Jared Grimes, Suzi Taylor and Melinda Sullivan. Many NYCDA alumni have gone on to have successful careers in dance including, Travis Wall, Derek Hough and Nick Lazzarini.

Photos from top: by Rachel Neville; by Eduardo Patino (3); by Rachel Neville, all courtesy of NYCDA.

Dance News

Catherine Hurlin of ABT's Studio CompanyLast night, the New York City Dance Alliance Foundation celebrated dance education at NYC’s Joyce Theater. Highlights of the benefit concert, “Destiny Rising,” included performances by members of American Ballet Theatre’s Studio Company (including Dance212's Catherine Hurlin), conservatory dancers from Point Park University and many NYCDA alumni.

Since its inception in 2010, NYCDAF’s college scholarship program has provided over five million dollars to more than 100 college-bound dancers. College partners like Point Park, Philadelphia’s University of the Arts and newly added University of North Carolina School of the Arts provide a large portion of the funding and recruit dancers directly from NYCDAF auditions. The next audition will be held July 2, in conjunction with the NYCDA summer workshop in Manhattan. Applications are due June 15.

Photo by Erin Baiano, courtesy of JKO School

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