Dance News

(L to R) Broadway performer Charlotte D'Amboise, 2013 Ambassador For The Arts Catherine Zeta-Jones and NYCDA Founder/Executive Director Joe Lanteri

At Dance Spirit, we love comp kids, we love college dancers, we love Broadway performers, and we especially love when all of these people come together for one exciting performance. That’s exactly what happened last night at New York City Dance Alliance Foundation’s gala event, “Bright Lights Shining Stars.” This year’s performance celebrated 2013 Ambassador For The Arts Award winner Catherine Zeta-Jones, who was looking radiant in head-to-toe sequins. But the real stars of the night were the dancers, who came from far and wide to pay tribute to CZJ.

The opening number featured one of our September 2013 cover girls, Marymount Manhattan dancer Zoey Anderson, who took the stage opposite our July/August cover guy Jakob Karr. What a great match! And later, I was so proud to spot 2012 Cover Model Search finalist Alyssa Ness and CMS winner Megan Skalla looking stunning on stage, both of whom have won generous college scholarships from NYCDA this year.

Then came the Broadway tributes, each one representing a chapter from CZJ’s career. There was “Go Into Your Dance” from 42nd Street with Mara Davi of “Smash,” “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” from Rock of Ages featuring Mamma Mia’s Felicia Finley, and “All That Jazz” from Chicago starring Charlotte D’Amboise of Pippin.

One of the best moments of the night featured another Broadway star, tiny tapper Luke Spring, who comes back to the Great White Way this December in A Christmas Story.  The 10-year-old cutie stole the show with an improvised tap solo. The crowd went absolutely wild and gave him a standing ovation.

This year, the Foundation has already awarded $3.4 million towards talented teens' college educations—including a $10,000 scholarship sponsored by our sister magazine Dance Magazine (that went to stunning dancer Sasha Alvarez).  And last night, NYCDA handed out even more college scholarships, ranging from $5,000 to $10,000. I have to admit, I got a little choked up seeing the excitement on these dancers’ faces.

All in all, it was a fabulous night to celebrate the past accomplishments of one dancer-turned-celebrity—and the futures of a whole bunch of talented kids.

Dance News

On Saturday evening, Dance Spirit editor-in-chief Alison Feller and I attended one of our favorite summer dance events: The New York City Dance Alliance closing-night gala. It's always jam-packed with dance celebs (Oh hey, Jakob Karr!) and is never lacking for awe-inspiring talent.

Here are a few highlights from the night:

  • The Rockettes opened the show with an instrumental version of Shine (one of my favorite numbers from the Radio City Christmas Spectacular!). They wore gorgeous silver dresses that had the NYC skyline across the bust—I was in love. And the crowd went nuts when they showed off their perfect kickline.

  • The NYCDA Foundation and multiple colleges and universities from across the country awarded high school juniors and seniors 3.4 million dollars in college scholarships. That's right, folks—3.4 MILLION! Lives were changed.

  • Kolton Krouse, the 2012 National Teen Male Outstanding Dancer, and Alexia Meyer, the 2012 National Senior Female Outstanding Dancer, danced two of the best solos (their farewells) I've ever seen. I'm not kidding—as soon as they finished the entire audience jumped to its feet in applause. I can't wait to see what they do next.

  • Three of the Top 5 senior female dancers were former/present DS Cover Model Search finalists! Last year's CMS winner Megan Skalla was fourth runner-up, 2013 CMS finalist Madi Hicks was third runner-up and 2012 CMS finalist Alyssa Ness was crowned the 2013 National Female Outstanding Dancer! We couldn't have been more proud of all three.

Here are the big winners from the night:

 

Jayci Kalb.

 

Teen Female Outstanding Dancer: Jayci Kalb

Teen Male Outstanding Dancer: Jake Tribus

 

 

 

 

 

Alyssa Ness.

 

Senior Female Outstanding Dancer: Alyssa Ness

Senior Male Outstanding Dancer: Alex Soulliere

 

 

 

 

Teen Critics' Choice: Wings from The Dance Club in Orem, UT

Senior Critics' Choice: From the East from The Dance Club in Orem, UT and Solitude from Inspire Dance Company in Las Vegas, NV (For the first time in 19 years, there was an exact tie!)

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