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All photos by Rachel Papo

Katie Langan never intended to teach dance—much less run an entire college dance department. Now, with decades of experience under her belt, including more than 15 years as the dance chair at Marymount Manhattan College, Langan is a passionate advocate for higher education.

How did she get where she is? Following early training at North Carolina School of the Arts, American Ballet Theatre and School of American Ballet, and a performance career highlighted by stints with Ballett Zürich and Twyla Tharp Dance, Langan got her BA in art and design at MMC. While a student at the college, she was asked to teach a ballet class. Part-time soon became full-time—and the rest is history.

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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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