The seventh edition of Dance from the Heart raised a record-breaking $66,840 with two nights of performances that took the audience on a journey through hip-hop, contemporary, ballet and Broadway. The event's eclectic performances helped Dance from the Heart surpass its previous fundraising record by more than $34,000.
Some of New York City's most talented and recognizable dancers took the stage at Cedar Lake Theater on January 23 and 24, 2012. In four performances over the two nights, the crowd-pleasing event exemplified the magnificent diversity within today's dance community.
So You Think You Can Dance winner Melanie Moore demonstrated how she earned the title “America’s Favorite Dancer” with her powerhouse strength and flexibility pouring into every leap, backbend and split while maintaining grace and emotion. Her piece was choreographed by fellow So You Think You Can Dance alum Travis Wall specifically for Dance from the Heart.
American Ballet Theatre soloist Misty Copeland captivated the audience in Matthew Prescott’s eloquent “Falling.” She soared high above his head in numerous lifts as if she was truly lighter than air.
New York City Ballet principals Janie Taylor and Jared Angle danced an excerpt of Benjamin Millepied’s “Plainspoken,” displaying pristine partnering capabilities with each fluid lift and gentle embrace.
Paul Taylor Dance Company’s steamy excerpt from “Piazzolla Caldera” alternated between duets and ensemble moments driven by the inherent sensual drama of the tango.
Hip-hop sensation Rennie Harris Puremovement catapulted themselves into the air with back handsprings, defying gravity with extreme stalls and tantalizing the audience with rhythmic isolations.
The Chase Brock Experience’s inventive “Tube” was lit solely by flashlights that flickered like televisions, taking the audience on a comedic tour of TV classics like The Flintstones and today’s hits like American Idol.
Kyle Abraham/Abraham.In.Motion depicted the emotional distress of a broken man, while Melissa Rae Mahon and Sean McKnight’s Broadway style “Street Scenes” created a sassy cat-and-mouse game between couples.
Other stand out performances included Cecilia Marta Dance Company, Company Stefanie Batten Bland, Jessica Lang Dance, Jodi Melnick, Peridance Contemporary Dance Company and Jonathan Royse Windham.
Dance from the Heart also included tributes to Christopher Gillis, a member of Paul Taylor Dance Company who passed away in 1993 due to AIDS-related causes, and Gail Perlman, an effervescent Broadway Cares volunteer who lost her battle with cancer last year.
Both evenings closed with “Concerto Nuovo,” a joyous piece by Jeremy McQueen that featured an all-female ensemble dressed in stark white mini dresses, exuberantly and intricately weaving on-and-off and across the stage.
Dance from the Heart was produced by and benefits Dancers Responding to AIDS, a program of Broadway Cares. This year's event was generously sponsored by The New York Times, United Airlines, Beaulieu Vineyard, Cedar Lake Theater, DIRECTV, Movmnt Magazine and New York City Dance Alliance.
Photos by Rosalie O'Connor