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Career Transition For Dancers Holds Pre-Gala Reception For 30th Anniversary Pearl Jubilee

John Wegorzewski

William Van Ness, Dr Alfred Kaltman, Ann Van Ness, and Bunny Grossinger. (Photo: Annie Watt)

On Wednesday, September 2nd, Ann and Bill Van Ness hosted a Pre-Gala Reception for more than 80 guests at their elegant and stately townhouse. The Pre-Gala reception was held for more than 80 guests to launch Career Transition For Dancers' 30th Anniversary Pearl Jubilee, A Star-Studded Retrospective, to be held on Monday, September 28th at New York City Center followed by a Supper with the Stars at the Hilton's Grand Ballroom. The enthusiastic gathering dined on delicious hors d'oeuvres and wines provided by Gianni Russo.

Attendees included Gala Anniversary Chairs Anka Palitz and Michele Herbert, CTFD's Chairman Cynthia Fischer and former New York City Ballet soloist/CTFD dancer-client Michael Byars, who described how CTFD assisted him with his transition to become a lawyer and the importance of raising funds to assist other dancers in their transitions.

"In 1996, as a NYCB soloist, I danced George Balanchine's Tarantella at the CTFD Gala - now, as a public sector lawyer, I argue cases before the federal court of appeals," Michael Byars said. "CTFD provided me with invaluable support in that journey, including friendship and advice throughout my decision-making about my new career as well as assistance with my law school tuition." He continued, "More broadly, CTFD also has been key in increasing awareness and understanding of dancers' career transition needs - you are making it possible for dancers to create beautiful art while knowing that they will find support for their next endeavors. Many thanks, CTFD!"

Former Board Member Judith Anderson was presented with a CTFD Award for Outstanding Contributions to the World of Dance. In addition, CTFD honorees Andrew Faas and Irene and Fred Shen were present. Rolex Watch Inc., U.S.A. and Misty Widelitz will also be honored at the Gala. Academy Award winner Shirley MacLaine will be presented at the Gala with the 2015 Rolex Dance Award by fellow Oscar winners Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas. More stars and surprises will be announced soon. CTFD's 30th Anniversary will be in memory of CTFD's dear patron and friend Victor Elmaleh.

The bidding for the exclusive and extravagant live auction is expected to be extremely competitive, especially with fantastic lots like the Vanity Fair Oscar Party; Seabourn Mediterranean cruise; Grammy Awards; Nashville Country Music Awards; A Napa Valley wine experience, plus lots more! The Gala Producer/Director Ann Marie DeAngelo gave a sneak preview of the exciting talent to appear: star of An American in Paris Robert Fairchild; Noah Racey and Company; a surprise TBA from American Ballet Theatre; Bebe Neuwirth and Company performing "All That Jazz" from the Broadway hit show Chicago, and more.

"The dress code is black and white, and pearls," Ann Van Ness reminded everyone. "Please join us to make this year's gala the biggest and best ever and help us raise $1.2 million."

For more information, visit www.careertransition.org.


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