A Night to Remember at "Bright Lights Shining Stars"

(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.

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(From left) Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland (all photos by Erin Baiano)

Congratulations to Dance Spirit's 2019 Cover Model Search finalists: Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland! One of them will win a spot on Dance Spirit's Fall 2019 cover. Learn more about the dancers by clicking on their names here:

Read Darriel's profile here

Read Diego's profile here

Read Emma's profile here

And then vote for your favorite below. You can vote once a day now through July 15.

We also want you to get social! We'll be factoring social media likes and shares into our final tallies. Be sure to show your favorite finalist some love on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, sharing their profile pages and using the hashtag #DanceSpiritCMS.

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