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Silver screen gala.

No one could ever say they didn't get their money's worth at the October 27 gala for Career Transition For Dancers. Patrons, who were asked to arrive no later than 6:45 for the 7:00 p.m. curtain, found themselves still in their seats at City Center more than three hours later as film stars alternated with today's leading performers. Then the guests, attired in optional black tie, were whisked by bus to posh Cipriani's on 42nd Street for supper, dancing, and a live auction to benefit the work of Career Transition.

The Dance Tribute to Hollywood "Gotta Dance!" kicked off with production numbers by the promising youth of the National Dance Institute, founded by Jacques d'Amboise (remembered both for his roles at New York City Ballet and as a brother in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers). The banter between Russ Tamblyn (Seven Brides) and George Chakiris (West Side Story) triggered celluloid memories that were shared all evening by such dancers as Leslie Browne (The Turning Point), Karen Lynn Gorney (Saturday Night Fever), and Marge Champion (Show Boat). American Ballet Theatre's Angel Corella and Ashley Tuttle warmed the stage with the adolescent intensity of Romeo and Juliet; the Lar Lubovitch Dance Company performed an excerpt from Lubovitch's The Red Shoes; the Royal Ballet's Alina Cojocaru and Johan Kobborg displayed flawless technique in the Black Swan pas de deux from Swan Lake; the cast of Never Gonna Dance mimicked Fred and Ginger; and Les Ballets Grandiva evoked the fruity perfume of Carmen Miranda.

Showstoppers among the stars were 89-year-young Fayard Nicholas dancing with his thirtysomething wife; the still-tall and elegant Cyd Charisse receiving the Movado Dance Award; and Busby Berkeley bathing beauty Esther Williams, still recovering from a broken ankle that doctors said would keep her off her feel forever. She walked onstage with a Speedo-clad hunk on either elbow (above) and called out, "Where's the pool?" Williams regaled the audience until the final awards were presented to Nicholas, the late Donald O'Connor, and Turner Entertainment Co. (Turner Classic Movies). The evening was dedicated to the late Caroline H. Newhouse, arts patron and benefactor of Career Transition For Dancers.
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Title Annotation:New York Matters; gala for Career Transition for Dancers
Author:Patrick, K.C.
Publication:Dance Magazine
Geographic Code:1U2NY
Date:Feb 1, 2004
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