Last night at the Joyce Theater in NYC, The New York City Dance Alliance Foundation hosted its 8th annual "Destiny Rising" college scholarship gala, and wow, was it a spectacularly moving night. Why, you ask? Where to even begin.
Let's start with the performances, because they were out of this world. The lineup was STACKED. Seriously—everyone (from The Chase Brock Experience who opened the show with Splendor we only partially imagined, a lively, makes-you-smile-the-whole-time piece, to Michele Wiles' BalletNext, to Andy Pellick dancing to "Fever" in a solo to end all solos, to the wildly talented Point Park University Conservatory of Dance students) was there.
As if things couldn't get any better, we got to watch the choreographic work of DS Cover Model Search finalist Jordan Pelliteri, and the mesmerizing moves of CMS winner and Juilliard freshman, Kaylin Maggard (dancing with the insanely powerful Michael Garcia, and "You Should Know" featured dancer Nina Bartell, in a piece by Madi Hicks, no less). Also, congrats are in order: Jordan will be heading to the Netherlands this fall to dance with NDT II. Girl, yes.
By that point, I was drowning in happy tears, and then they hit us with the video (except, disclaimer: this is last year's highlights video, since the 2018 version isn't yet available online. However, this one will bring you to tears just as quickly, I PROMISE):
As the #iconic Debbie Allen says at the 2:04 mark, "New York City Dance Alliance is doing work that is God's work." Um, yes, 100%, we couldn't agree more. And with that, NYCDA founder and Executive Director Joe Lanteri took the stage (in a very excellent suit, I might add) to present the 2018 scholarships. In all my years of attending this gala, I can say with certainty that this is the absolute best part. Getting to watch as dancers' college dreams come true is a privilege, and it's all thanks to NYCDA. (Also, special shoutout to Jenna Meilman, a two-time DS fashion model, who was awarded a scholarship last night!)