This year marked the seventh anniversary of Dance Against Cancer (DAC), a benefit evening supporting the American Cancer Society. The first DAC — founded by Director of Programming for the Manhattan Youth Ballet, Erin Fogarty, and New York City Ballet Principal Daniel Ulbricht — premiered in the spring of 2010. “My sister had run the NYC Marathon to raise money for the American Cancer Society,” explains Fogarty. “Both Daniel and I watched our own parents courageously battle cancer, and, since running a marathon wasn’t in our cards, we wanted to do something to support ACS through our dance industry.”
The 2017 DAC included a silent auction, cocktail party and prestigious performance. This year’s lineup included:
- Daniel Ulbricht and Joseph Gatti in a New York premiere by Marcelo Gomes
- Gillian Murphy and James Whiteside, choreographed by Whiteside, featuring two new world premiere solos
- Maria Kowroski and Jared Angle in Christopher Wheeldon’s Liturgy
- Megan Fairchild, Gabe Stone Shayer, Cassandra Trenary and Harrison Coll in excerpts of Larry Keigwin’s Love Songs
- Matthew Rushing in a world premiere by Fredrick Earl Mosley
- Patricia Delgado, recently retired dancer from Miami City Ballet
- BalletMet in a world premiere by Edwaard Liang
- Josh Prince’s Broadway Dance Lab
- Dance Theatre of Harlem
“Each year, so many wonderfully talented dancers and companies reach out to perform voluntarily,” says Fogarty. “It is really a beautifully overwhelming thing, an embarrassment of riches. Trimming the program to 90 minutes is tricky!”
Along with the seventh annual benefit gala, 2017 also marked the organization’s pre-professional dance benefit: The Youth Movement. Inspired by DAC’s youngest committee member, 13-year-old Maya Rosefsky, The Youth Movement is a separate concert (held this year back in March), featuring performances by pre-professional dance organizations and companies such as the American Ballet Theatre Studio Company, Manhattan Youth Ballet, The Joffrey Ballet Ensemble, Montclair State University Dance Department and the East Side Dance Company.
“Maya lost her mother to breast cancer last year,” explains Fogarty. “She is one of the strongest people I know. Maya has been on our committee for over two years and always contributes great ideas. The support of the pre-professional dance community has been truly amazing.”
And DAC’s latest project is going viral — literally. The #tourforacure campaign was inspired by the ALS ice bucket challenge that took Instagram by storm. But this hashtag requires a bit more technique — a tour en l’air! Follow @danceagainstcancer, and start practicing your tours!
This year alone, DAC has raised nearly $300,000, and that number is still climbing. To date, the organization has raised over $1.1 million dollars in support of the American Cancer Society.
To learn more, volunteer, donate auction items or become a sponsor for Dance Against Cancer, visit www.dacny.org, or contact Chloe Lipman from the American Cancer Society at (212) 237-3896 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Mary Callahan of Dance Informa.