Dance Against Cancer Raised More than $243,000 for the American Cancer Society
"I'm dancing for my mother; performing for a cure." Those were the words that began Dance Against Cancer's 5th annual benefit on Monday night, before New York City Ballet principal Maria Kowroski took center stage. While brief, her performance of George Balanchine's Mozartiana (an excerpt) left barely a dry eye in the theater—including a grieving Kowroski herself.
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater's rehearsal director Matthew Rushing paid tribute to the late Denise Jefferson (Photo by Cherylynn Tsushima, courtesy Michelle Tabnick Communications)
Kowroski, however, wasn't the only artist onstage whose family had been affected by cancer. Almost all the dancers—more than 50 in total—named a loved one who'd left the world too soon, and to whom they'd dedicate their performance. Dance Against Cancer producers Daniel Ulbricht and Erin Fogarty also have personal ties to the cause. Fogarty's father passed away in 2011 from colon cancer; Ulbricht's mother is living with uterine cancer. And while all the dancers who performed were some of the most incredible in the world, their performances were further heightened by the intention and dedication behind them.
Erin Fogarty and Daniel Ulbricht at Dance Against Cancer (Photo by Kyra Neeley, courtesy Michelle Tabnick Communications)
Not all of the evening was solemn in tone—many of the performances, like NYCB principal Robert Fairchild's rendition of Gene Kelly's Ballin' in the Jack, were a celebration of life and its joys. Futhermore, the benefit was a phenomenal success: Over the last five years, Dance Against Cancer has raised more than $550,000 for the American Cancer Society, and this year alone raised more than $243,000. The money aids in funding Hope Lodges across the country, which provide housing for families receiving outpatient treatment away from home.