Al Blackstone's Not For Me

For its 21st annual gathering in July, the Fire Island Dance Festival raised a record-breaking $544,555 for Dancers Responding to AIDS. Complexions Contemporary Ballet co-founder Desmond Richardson hosted the festival this year, which included world premieres by Al Blackstone (winner of the 2011 Capezio A.C.E. Award), Joshua Beamish, Pontus Lidberg, Charlie Williams and Manuel Vignoulle.

The Fire Island Dance Festival is an annual fundraising event for the nonprofit organization Dancers Responding to AIDS. Former Paul Taylor Dance Company members Denise Roberts Hurlin and Hernando Cortez founded DRA in 1991 to raise money and awareness for those with HIV/AIDS. Since its inception, the festival has raised more than $4.3 million for DRA.

Photo by Whitney Browne, courtesy of DRA

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It's not often that practicing choreographers get a chance to workshop with of-the-moment pros. Harvard University dance students are currently creating their own works under the guidance of contemporary ballet choreographer Pontus Lidberg and Gallim Dance's theatrical Andrea Miller. While in Cambridge, the two will also create work for dancers in the department, to be performed at the Harvard Dance Program Spring Performance, March 28–30. Dance program director Jill Johnson will also set a work inspired by William Forsythe's choreographic and improvisation methods. (Read more on Johnson, who we featured in our September 2011 issue when she took over the department.)

Photo of Jill Johnson and dancer Sokvannara (Sy) Sar at Manhattan Movement & Arts Center Studio; by Rachel Papo

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