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GALA HELPS RETIRING DANCERS TAKE NEXT STEP.

Career Transition for Dancers netted over $500,000 at its sixth annual "Next Step" Gala, held in October at Hunter College's Kaye Playhouse in New York.

Underwritten by Conde Nast Publications, the evening featured performances by Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, Buglisi/Foreman Dance, members of the Rockettes, American Ballet Theatre's Vladimir Malakhov, Dance Theatre of Harlem's Caroline Rocher, Complexions's Desmond Richardson, Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo's Ida Nevasayneva, Ballet San Jose Silicon Valley's Karen Gabay and Raymond Rodriguez, Momix's Pi Keohavong and Nicole Loizides and New York City Ballet's Wendy Whelan and Damian Woetzel.

Hosts Tony Randall and Karen Ziemba (of Contact) presented honors to dance supporter Anne Bass and NYCB's Peter Martins for their contributions to the dance world. The gala, chaired by Ronnie and Jonathan Newhouse, continued with a dinner/auction.

For fifteen years, CTFD has provided scholarships, career counseling, seminars, a toll-free hotline and resource materials to current and former dancers facing the end of a career. CTFD has awarded more than $1 million in grants to 1,800 transitioning dancers since 1985. This year, the Caroline H. Newhouse Scholarship Fund awarded more than $230,000 in scholarships to 219 dancers for educational and retraining opportunities. This fall, the Luigi Gasparinetti Scholarship Program for Graduate Studies launched a program to assist dancers seeking graduate and professional degrees.

"With one phone call, a whole new life can open up for a dancer even before he or she is thinking of retirement," said CTFD chair and former ABT ballerina Cynthia Gregory. "I think planning ahead is the key." According to a 1988 report by Dance/USA, a dancer's career, on average, ends about five years before he or she anticipates it will end.

Former NYCB soloist Michael Byars is one of the many who have benefited from the organization's work. "CTFD listened to me as I considered my options," he said. "They gave me a $2,500 lifetime grant and educated me about the transition process." After completing three years at New York University's School of Law, he began working for a New York law firm. "I look forward to becoming at least as skilled as an advocate as I felt as a dancer," he said. "My transition certainly wouldn't have been as smooth without them."

Caroline H. Newhouse, co-founder of the Caroline & Theodore Newhouse Center for Dancers, CTFD's home base in New York, said, "I love this organization and I hope we get bigger and bigger. It is a dancer's nature to be very organized, and it's lovely to see them have another chance in every field--nurses, doctors. The need has touched me." CTFD maintains a second office in Los Angeles.

Director of Client Services Suzie Jary said the annual event has an emotional impact. "The fact that these exquisite artists donate their time and talent to ensure there will be resources for the futures of their fellow dancers and themselves is truly moving," she said.
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Title Annotation:Career Transition for Dancers raises over $500,000
Author:Stein, Heather
Publication:Dance Magazine
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1U2NY
Date:Jan 1, 2001
Words:489
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