Dance News

The National Dance Institute's Annual Gala Honors Tony-Award Winning Dancer Bebe Neuwirth

NDI's founder Jacques d'Amboise, right, and his daughter Charlotte d'Amboise, left. Bebe Neuwith, center, was honored at NDI's annual event. Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images for National Dance Institute

Last night the National Dance Institute, founded by Jacques d'Amboise, hosted its 42nd Annual Gala at the Zeigfeld Ballroom in New York City. The non-profit's largest fundraising event of the year raised $1.5 million, with all proceeds benefitting the organization's arts education programs.



Charlotte d'Amboise, Terrence Mann, Mandy Patinkin and Bebe Neuwirth with other guests. Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images for National Dance Institute

The 500 guests included actor Mandy Patinkin, his wife actress Kathryn Grody and American Ballet Theatre principal Isabella Boylston. A handful of New York City Ballet Dancers also attended including Daniel Ulbricht, Sterling Hyltin, Jared Angle, Amar Ramasar, Ask la Cour, and Teresa Reichlen.

American Ballet Theatre principal Isabella Boylston. Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images for National Dance Institute

Plus former New York City Ballet Dancers Wendy Whelan and Allegra Kent, among others, were there to show support.

Allegra Kent poses on the red carpet. Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images for National Dance Institute

The evening included a live auction, special performances by the children of NDI and an awards presentation honoring Tony Award-winning dancer, singer, and actress Bebe Neuwirth for her support of arts education.

After accepting her award, Neuwirth shared a touching story about the first time she ran into Jacques d'Amboise at The Juilliard School where she was a student:



"I overheard a part of his conversation as he walked past me. He said something about the kids. I didn't know which kids he was referring to, but this was 1976, so this could have been the first group of NDI kids. So, 42 years later, I'm so deeply moved and grateful to have been recognized and called to this stage. Thank you Mr. d'Amboise for your concern all these years, and for continuing to take care of the kids. For providing them the opportunity to hear the music and dance together, opening their hearts, their minds, and their souls, in the joyous way that can only happen through dance."

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Dance Teacher Tips
At CPYB, students learn from an early age the importance of strong corps work. Photo by Rosalie O'Connor, courtesy of CPYB

Dancers at the University of Arizona recently performed Jerome Robbins' Antique Epigraphs, an ensemble piece for eight women that requires intricate linear formations and walking in unison. "It was super-challenging for us," says dance professor Melissa Lowe. "Students needed a heightened sense of awareness, or it wasn't going to happen." Lowe asked dancers to use their intuition and aural sensibilities to help determine where they needed to be, when they should be there and how to get to those places—together.

Teaching dancers to work in unison, whether as a large corps de ballet or small ensemble group, is an integral part of their training. It requires teamwork, attention to detail and thoughtful preparation for a successful group effort. Teachers need to provide the right steps and counts to ensure cohesiveness, of course. But how you set the material will also encourage dancers to be in line and in sync—while still allowing them to be individuals.

Make sure they show up

Photo by Ed Flores, courtesy of University of Arizona

University of Arizona students at the end of Balanchine's Serenade

Missing dancers can be disastrous for a group piece. "If it's a studio production, there has to be an agreement up front for students who want to be involved," says Lorita Travaglia, ballet mistress at Colorado Ballet. "When one person is missing and doesn't know what they're doing, it really does affect the whole group." Understanding the importance of commitment is a crucial part of dancers' (and their families') training. "They have the responsibility to everyone, not just themselves," she says.










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Without any nutrition education and because I was too embarrassed to tell my mother what had happened, I started restricting food and only eating things that contained three grams of fat or less. Clearly, as a young teen, I didn't have the knowledge to safely wade through dieting tips and formulate a plan for myself.

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This weekend, The Maria Torres Emerging Artists Foundation is making the dreams of 12 young girls come true.

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Though a new studio year brings with it its own stressors—class scheduling, orientation, newly sore muscles—you'd be remiss if you didn't also use this opportunity to carefully consider what's been working (and what hasn't) for your studio. Is it time to repaint your lobby? Get rid of that more-trouble-than-it's-worth vending machine? Finally add a social-media clause to your student handbook? August is your chance to roll up your sleeves and give every aspect of your business the mental elbow grease it needs.

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Booker T. Alum Celeste Robbins and Linda James. Photo by Brian Guiliaux

Linda James, a dance teacher who retired in June from Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Dallas, Texas, recently wrote for Arts+Culture about her 36 years of teaching.

"I am proud to say that I am a former member of the dance faculty at Booker T. (an affectionate name given to the school by recent alums). In June 2018, I retired from BTWHSPVA—a privileged position that fed my soul. When school resumes in the fall, I know that I will miss the hugs, boisterous clamor and rhythmic outbursts of spontaneous movement as students dart down the halls on the way to class and rehearsals."

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"Thanks to the outstanding training provided by area dance studios and schools, the skill level of incoming BTWHSPVA dancers has grown steadily. The Booker T. dance faculty eagerly amplify the students' technique and foster the development of their artistry."

For the full story published at Arts+Culture, visit here.

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We asked and you answered! Here are the top 11 things dance teachers wish their students understood. Let us know if you agree with these over on our Facebook page!

Thanks for being fabulous and keeping your students' best interests at heart. We vow to love you all forever and ever! xoxo

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