By: Sandi Durell & Magda Katz (Photos/Video)
In a joyous evening honoring legend Debbie Allen, the NYC Dance Alliance Foundation showed its muster on September 27th at the NYU Skirball Center for Performing Arts. Ms. Allen’s illustrious three – decade career and passion as an educator was recognized as she received the NYCDAF Ambassador for the Arts Award.
The evening featured numerous artists, performers and celebrities as Joe Lanteri, NYCDAF Founder/Executive Director opened the evening, introducing the 2013 Award recipient Catherine Zeta-Jones. On hand to present the Adele Astaire Scholarship was Tony Nominee (An American in Paris) Robert Fairchild. The notable Carmen de Lavallade offered up her thoughts and remarks and introduced Raven-Symoné who had many heartfelt words to say to and about her mentor Debbie Allen.
Since it’s inception in 2010, 66 dancers have shared in over $4 million toward college scholarships between monies from colleges and NYCDA. Scholarships totaling $132,000 were presented by Keith Roberts to this year’s winners.
Top notch highlight performances took place honoring Ms. Allen for her roles in Sweet Charity (“I’m a Brass Band” featuring Jessica Lee Goldyn) and West Side Story (“America” with Debbie Allen’s daughter). Fame was portrayed with adaptations from the movie – “Hot Lunch Jam” (featuring Daniel J. Watts) and “Body Electric” with Adrienne Warren and dancer guests. There were several video presentations of Debbie Allen’s career as the actual award was lovingly and tearfully presented to her by sister, Phylicia Rashad.