Destiny Rising, or Why College Is Awesome

Screen Shot 2014-04-22 at 11.14.44 AMHere at DS, there’s nothing we like better than a good gala. Actually, scratch that: There’s nothing we like better than a good gala for an especially great cause.

The New York City Dance Alliance Foundation hosted its fourth annual Destiny Rising show last night to benefit the organization’s pretty incredible college scholarship program. We would’ve watched paint dry if we knew it’d help NYCDA’s super-talented kids achieve their college dreams. But we were treated to a world-class show instead—hosted by Complexions co-founder and fabulous dancer-about-town Desmond Richardson, no less.

Here’s the great thing about the Destiny Rising gala: Every year, it features performances not only by professional companies filled with college graduates, but also by college dance groups. Over the course of the evening, the show offers dance students different visions of their futures—and all of them involve higher ed.

Last night was no exception. Are you dreaming of joining Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater? Southern Methodist University graduate Jamal White, now a member of  Ailey II, blazed through a powerful solo choreographed by Ailey II director Troy Powell. Hoping to keep performing innovative contemporary works in college? The Dean College Dancers showed that’s definitely possible in Strange Invisible Perfume, a tribal-style showcase for its versatile performers. Obsessed with the ingenious dance-gymnastics blend of groups like Pilobolus Dance Theater? Alison Chase/Performance—led by Chase, a former Pilobolus director, and made up of very well-educated dancers—displayed superhuman feats of strength in Chase’s Tsu-Ku-Tsu. Hoping to keep up your serious ballet training while you get a degree? The women of Mercyhurst University Ballet Theatre, who are doing just that, showed off strong pointe work in Terra Firma.

Long story short? Thanks to organizations like NYCDA Foundation, more and more talented dancers are choosing to go to college. And last night proved that that decision pretty much always pays off.

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