Roberta on the Arts
"A Star-Studded Retrospective", Career Transition for Dancers 30th Anniversary Jubilee, at New York City Center
Contact Roberta
Jazz and Cabaret Corner
On Location with Roberta
In the Galleries: Artists and Photographers
Backstage with the Playwrights and Filmmakers
Classical and Cultural Connections
New CDs
Arts and Education
Onstage with the Dancers
Offstage with the Dancers
Upcoming Events
Special Events
Culture from Chicago
Our Sponsors

"A Star-Studded Retrospective", Career Transition for Dancers 30th Anniversary Jubilee, at New York City Center

- Onstage with the Dancers: Special Events

One Taste Is All It Takes!
For 11 Convenient NY Locations
Recipes, Catering, and Weekly Specials!

A Star-Studded Retrospective
Career Transition for Dancers 30th Anniversary Jubilee

At New York City Center

Presented by Rolex
in association with:
Lloyd E. Rigler – Lawrence Deutsch Foundation

Shirley MacLaine – Rolex Dance Award
Andrew Faas /Faas Foundation – Misty Widelitz
Irene & Fred Shen – CTFD Awards

Cynthia Gregory, Host

With Appearances by:
Bebe Neuwirth – Brian Stokes Mitchell
Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas

Producer and Director: Ann Marie DeAngelo Executive Producer: Alexander J. Dubé
Lighting Designer: Brad Fields
Production Stage Manager: Lori Rosecrans Wekselblatt
Musical Director: Jim Morgan
Press: KPM Associates: Kevin P. McAnarney

30th Anniversary Pearl Jubilee Chairs:
Anka K. Palitz * Michele Herbert * Michele Riggi

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
September 28, 2015

Once again a gorgeous Rolex watch found its way onto the wrist of a deserving Honoree, for a lifetime of support and involvement in the dance community, thanks to Career Transition for Dancers (CTFD), now in its 30th Anniversary. Tonight’s Honoree, one of my all-time favorites, was Shirley MacLaine, who looked fantastic, all dolled up in black silk, strings of pearls, and copper curls. She told the audience that this was her best night in 600,000 years! She also told us she considers herself, foremost, a dancer, and was so grateful for the honor, as well as the Rolex, which she showed off, with a wave, at the curtain call. Ms. MacLaine was introduced by her friends, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas, who were also greeted with generous applause and vocal adoration. Additional Honorees were: Andrew Faas and the Faas Foundation, which supports not-for-profit organizations in areas of education, health care, and medical research; Irene and Fred Shen, both arts patrons and board members of various arts and culture organizations; and Misty Widelitz, also an arts patron. Bebe Neuwirth, who also performed, and Brian Stokes Mitchell offered a poignant tribute to the Actor’s Fund. Throughout the intermission-less evening, Cynthia Gregory, a retired Principal ballerina with American Ballet Theatre, was a distinguished Host. The Gala party guests later celebrated at the Hilton New York Hotel Grand Ballroom.

Anne Marie DeAngelo, who produces and directs these annual benefits for CTFD, to raise funds for retiring, injured, or unemployed dancers to find new opportunities for work, also wrote and choreographed a few of the numbers, including the Opening, a comedy skit with Thomas and Peter Campbell, plus Joffrey Ballet Concert Group and Kevin Baron. The occasional, street-styled, elevated back-flips then became a running Interlude, along with dynamic introductions on the mic. American Repertory danced a “Hoedown”, choreographed by Douglas Martin, with lots of rodeo-infused fervor, followed by “Ballet Modern”, one of Ms. DeAngelo’s designs, danced by Karen Moscato and Mattia Pallozzi, of American Rep, and Mary LaCroix and Barry Lohr, of Las Vegas Contemporary Dance Theatre. Adding to the mix, Jason Samuels Smith appeared with his own dervish tap number, filled with verve. These CTFD Galas always fuse every possible dance style into an evening of impressive and incredible energy, with children, teens, adults, and retirees following one another, then joining at the curtain. It’s a village of dancers! Jazz and Hip Hop followed the Tap, with Jazz Roots Dance Company, a vibrant ensemble of 15, performing to “Papa Was a Rolling Stone”, by the Temptations, choreographed by Sue Samuels. A Hip Hop Interlude, with Ephret “Bounce” Asherie and Richard McQuine, was on the heels of Mary Kennedy’s Hip Hop to “Rappers’ Delight”, danced by The National Dance Institute.

Misty Copeland, a newly promoted Principal with American Ballet Theatre (ABT), danced a solo, “Paganini”, to Charles Yang’s onstage, violin version of Paganini’s “Caprice in A minor”. Ms. Copeland and Mr. Yang played with spinning motion and the spinning violin bow in fanciful fashion. Marcelo Gomes, a renowned ABT Principal, choreographed this work. Another renowned Principal, Robert Fairchild, of New York City Ballet, who’s now starring on Broadway in “American in Paris”, danced Gene Kelly’s sophisticated, “Ballin’ the Jack” to grand acclaim. Next, Noah Racey’s number, with New York Song & Dance Company, danced to Cole Porter’s “I’ve Got You Under My Skin”, brought down the house, as singer-dancer, Frances Nielah Bradley was a siren, with smooth sexy vocals and a slithering dance style. Mr. Racey was also joined by Con O’Shea Creal, Jason Yudoff, Sara Brians, and CK Edwards in the melodic, vivacious number. Parsons Dance performed one of my favorite Gala presentations, “Caught”, by David Parsons. I’ve seen this piece a dozen times, perhaps, with male and female stars of modern and ballet companies. Tonight’s performer was one of the best, Elena D’Amario, caught mid-air in strobe lights, leaping, twirling, and landing, as if in flight.

The next featured star and number are a combined fixture at CTFD Galas, Bebe Neuwirth in Ann Reinking’s (after Bob Fosse) choreography of “All that Jazz” from Kander and Ebb’s “Chicago”. Ms. Neuwirth looks fabulous, and she sang and danced and high-kicked with her ensemble of 13. The crowd created a fever of adulation. The next piece was a surprise, as Ann Marie DeAngelo added a brief choreography workshop, in which she participated with energized talent, along with four dancers, who re-appeared. Toward the events’ finale, Eliot Feld’s, Ballet Tech Kids Dance performed Feld's “KYDZNY”, to a score called “Didi” by Khaled Hadj Brahim, surrounded by little girls blowing bubbles. This work was adorable and refreshing, with youthful pizzazz. As a closer, Christopher Gerges and Alena Sentyabreva, of Arthur Murray Dance Center, added Latin flash, with a showcase, ballroom-styled Salsa, transporting the crowd to sunny San Juan. As always, this 30th Anniversary Pearl Jubilee, a benefit for Career Transition for Dancers, was a huge success. Kudos to all.

American Ballet Theatre
Misty Copeland, Principal Dancer,
and Charles Yang, Violinist
Perform Marcelo Gomes' "Paganini"
Courtesy of Richard Termaine

New York City Ballet
Robert Fairchild, Principal Dancer
Performs Gene Kelly's "Ballin' the Jack"
Courtesy of Richard Termaine

New York Song & Dance Company
Noah Racey with Dancers
and Dancer/Vocalist, Frances Nielah Bradley
Dance to Cole Porter's "I've Got You Under My Skin"
Courtesy of Richard Termaine

"All that Jazz" from Chicago
Bebe Neuwirth, Dancer/Vocalist, with Dancers from Chicago
Perform Ann Reinking's (after Fosse) "All that Jazz"
Courtesy of Richard Termaine

Ballet Tech's Kids Dance
Perform Eliot Feld's "KYDZNY"
Courtesy of Richard Termaine

Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones
Introduce Shirley MacLaine, Rolex Dance Award Honoree
Courtesy of Richard Termaine

Shirley MacLaine Greets the Crowd at New York City Center
and Tells Anecdotes about the Backstage Life of a Dancer
Courtesy of Richard Termaine

Arthur Murray Dance Center
Christopher Gerges and Alena Sentyabreva
Perform a Showcase Salsa
Courtesy of Richard Termaine

Cynthia Gregory, Host, Shirley MacLaine, Honoree,
and Full Cast and Guests at the Curtain Bows
Courtesy of Richard Termaine

For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at