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DO40 Cares - One More Turn

A song and dance event that showcased the diversity of our community,
all to benefit Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and
Project Achieve and the NYC HIV Vaccine Trials Unit

CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE PHOTO GALLERY (151 Photos)

DO40: One More Turn

On Monday, April 12th DO40 presented its first-ever song and dance concert to benefit Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and Project Achieve, the HIV Vaccine Trials Unit in NYC.  Former gypsy and perennial television star Valerie Harper, Broadway “real” soprano Anita Gillette and the ever-beautiful Marge Champion made special guest appearances during the show.  Guests from the ballet and modern world appeared and donated their performances as well. 

Choreographer and DO40 member Larry Fuller choreographed the opening and closing numbers, and choreography was also provided by Luigi, Margo Sappington, Peter Gennaro, Sasha Spielvogel, Donlin Foreman, Claire Porter, Marcus Galante and Alan Onickel.  Members performing included Karin Baker, Cherylyn Jones, Ken Urmston, George Marcy, Roseanna Mineo, Patti Mariano, Lori Tan Chinn, Ron Young, James Dybas and many more!. 

Our encore/finale, Lullaby of Broadway, was restaged by Karin Baker and featured as many of our members as we could get on the stage.  Other performers included Terri Klausner (a NEW DO40 member!), Claire Porter, Ramon Flowers, and dancers courtesy of the New York Theatre Ballet, performing “The Continental” by Peter Gennaro, recreated by his daughter, DO40 member Liza Gennaro. The event coordinators were DO40 members Cherylyn Jones, Joy Serio Dunbar and DO40 President John Sefakis.

DO40 intends this to be a yearly fundraiser, and hope we can reach out to all the dance communities to develop this event and involve even more members – and friends of DO40 next year!

Photos from DO40 Cares:  One More Turn

CLICK HERE to view more photos (151 Photos)


Hip Hop Classes for Kids and Teens
Uprise Dance Academy



Jack Cole: Alive and Kicking

“Kudos! An experience I needed without realizing it, like an infusion of vitamins that relieves a deficiency you didn't know you had.”

Jack Cole Tribute

(l to r) Ethel Martin, Chita Rivera, George Martin, Alan Johnson
and Marge Champion In their Dressing Room before the panel began

You did it! It's time for your ‘pat on the back and picture on the whole front page.’ An incredible job putting it all together with such great selections of dance material on film, having all those who worked with him give their points of view and respect, and his original fabulous dancers for this special tribute… one of the best events DO40 has presented to date.

Jack Cole TributeLast night was a night to behold and could have gone on for hours. It was so enjoyable that one never realized how long it was. It was a fabulous presentation and everyone was at their best. Dick Cavett, Chita, Marge Champion, Alan Johnson and Annette MacDonald and all others. How wonderful these presentations are. They bring dancers and the love they have for the art much closer. It was an array of talent last night! How lucky some of us are to have been part of the Genius of Jack Cole. To be good enough to dance under his direction, and to take what he had to offer and learn from him and to get to know him. He was a down to earth guy and a man with a sense of humor that no one could match. His incredible choreography performed by such great stars, shown on film executed with perfection and great humor and style, as only Jack could have done. And Gwen was right, when she received the award for her contribution as a dancer, "this is for Jack Cole" in honor of her great dancing achievements. It was a very exciting night and as I talked to people, "Dancers Over 40" has become a very popular event and will become more so as we go on. Not only do you learn about Choreographers and their relationships with their dancers and experiences of the Golden Age but mainly DO40 is for the dancer and their needs. What can I tell you. DO40 made it a great night.

Jack Cole TributeA great event, as always. You really outdid yourself. (Though Dick Cavett got a bit carried away!)”

It was just glorious! I'm dancing with Jack now (just kidding). Those clips were awesome, and hope we'll be able to catch a glimpse again.

Many congratulations! I just wanted to report that I think we have new members joining because of last night's show. But for me, the great thrill was in having George Martin talk about a show stopping number from a flop show, that had been saved on film, and with him sitting there, we got to see the pages of time go back and actually see that number with him sitting there!!!! What a brilliant number and what a treat for all of us!!!!! That and Marge talking about that amazing piece with her sitting there. I wish we could have heard more from those folks (and a little less from Dick Cavett!). It was an incredible happening.

Jack Cole TributeWhat a fabulous evening! The Jack Cole event was especially remarkable for its scope—performers, reflections, film and TV clips AND live performances! Don't know how you and DO40 assembled it all in such a short amount of time, but it was sensational! Bravo and kudos to all! Can't wait for the next program!

Congratulations! I can't tell you how great it is to have been part of it all. I would call it rich! Thank you for the spirit in you that makes you do this. And thanks to all the participants I had the honor to meet.

 

 

Jack Cole TributeWith a cast the size of a small Off-Broadway musicale, it looked like we were going to creep out into the sunlight after the Finale! It was wild, it was wacky, it was loooong! There was so much ground to cover, so many incredibly fabulous and rare dance clips, and stories about Cole and the lives of his dancers that after intermission, the crowd got bigger -- and, as we said, it was already SOLD OUT!

Fred Curt & Chita RiveraSeen in the crowd: Barbara Cook, Lypsinka, the New York Times, Vanity Fair. Special thanks to our board, and especially Harvey Evans, Kathy Gurland and Lois Silk. Saints and Martyrs to the end! And you three know who's whom! And Chita, Marge and Dick -- a huge wet kiss for participating in our event. It meant a heck of a lot to us! And a crew of volunteers! Old members (well, we mean not RECENT members!) and new, and even some FODO 40's... (friends of Dancers over 40). Thank you's to Quinn Lemley, (LEFT, with raised hand!) Richard Skipper, Mary Lou Barber, Jalynn Steele, Rosie, Lee O'Connor...and a bunch more that are getting left out because, well, we’re over 40 and sometimes we forget!

And did you hear about the missing photo from the set? Someone walked off with a 5 foot by 5 foot mounted photo of Jack Cole -- the same shot that was in the New York Times October 10th ! See what happens when it's a standing room only crowd! If anyone saw a HUGE photo walking out of the theater, please let us know!

MORE PHOTOS of this glorious event!


www.stepsnyc.com

 

IN THE COMPANY OF FRIENDS: The Dancers and Creative TALENTS of
Director/Choreographer
Gower Champion

Gower Champion Event 2

Continuing our string of hit panels, DO40’s Gower Champion event blew the roof off the St. Luke’s Theater, Monday, March 31st. The stars were literally aligned, and everyone who was anyone in the Gower firmament was there. When DO40 president John Sefakis asked those in the audience to stand if they had ever been in a Gower show during the curtain call, dozens stood up, half of them already in tears from what they had witnessed on stage. The “youngsters” met the mature dancers onstage and everyone won. Don Percassi discussed a Broadway show he was in and suddenly he realized the star he was supporting was 91 year old Iva Withers, another panelist seated across the stage from him. He ran over and hugged her – a realization that events that happened over 40 years could still bring people together. Marge Champion, from 1948’s Lend an Ear with Gower, to Karin Baker, Gower’s assistant, on his last show, 42nd Street – and a dozen more panelists in between represented all the great Gower shows of the Golden Age of Broadway – Bye Bye Birdie, Carnival, Hello, Dolly, Sugar, Rockabye Hamlet and some that were not so successful… but who cared! They all loved what they were doing and adored their director and choreographer. And the memories kept flowing.

The panels were divided into the “dancers” and the “creative talents” involved in Gower’s shows. Many of these dancers crossed over between the two categories, of course. And to moderate the event, who else but David Hartman. David Hartman? Get outta here!! David Hartman from Good Morning America and the Walking Tours series on Thirteen/WNET? Yep. Who knew he was in the original company of Hello, Dolly! As Rudolph the waiter! (this writer didn’t!). David graciously flew up with his wife, Mary from their home in North Carolina to support his dancer/friends, especially Nicole Barth, long time DO40 member and dancer in many Gower shows (Carnival, Hello, Dolly!, Sugar).

Then on to Panel 2, with Karin Baker (42nd Street), Nicole Barth (Carnival, Hello, Dolly! Sugar), Gene Bayliss (Make a Wish, Carnival, Bye Bye Birdie), Marge Champion (Lend an Ear, Make a Wish, Hello, Dolly!), Ed Kresley (Bye Bye Birdie, Hello, Dolly!), Bert Michaels (Sugar, Mack & Mabel) and Tony Stevens (Rockabye Hamlet). David Hartman ended the panel with his touching remarks from Gower’s memorial service in 1980. Not a dry eye in the house, as they say… And the finale, contrary to Ms. Channing’s wishes (it was NOT from Hello Dolly!) was 42nd Street – “Lullaby of Broadway,” recreated by Gower Dance Assistant, Karin Baker.

DO40 President John Sefakis, Marge Champion,
Ed Kresley and Nicole Barth

Intermission and the end of the show were like another event altogether! Dancers reunited with other dancers, Legends and leading Broadway show folk mixing with gypsies (Donald Saddler, June Havoc, Lonny Price, Harvey Evans). Special thanks to Ed Gaynes, who donated his theater for the evening, and everyone who donated their time and talent to this wonderful enterprise, especially Richard Skipper as Carol Channing, the great David Hartman, and the lovely and loquacious Marge Champion. As is always the case with Dancers Over 40 events, the “stars” are really the “dancers,” whom we salute time after time, and who share their history, their legacy and their lives with the rest of us so that their knowledge can educate the next generation of dancers. All of these panels are filmed and donated to the Jerome Robbins Dance Collection at the Lincoln Center Library for the Performing Arts.

DO40 is happy to link with other organizations to ensure every dancer has all the information they need to continue a happy, productive and creative life. Some organizations assist financially, some transition dancers to other occupations, some provide health benefits and options. Dancers Over 40 is here to guide them through all of that… but also to tend to their Souls. It was a joyous event, where everyone was so proud to be in their profession and so proud to still say, “Yes, I’M A DANCER.”

 

SEE MORE PHOTOS of
the GOWER CHAMPION
Panel Event

 

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Dancers Over 40 Thanks!

Arte Phillips Remembered by his fellow Dancers
Cheers and Tears, Dancing and Singing To celebrate the life of a friend

by John Sefakis

Arte Phillips RememberedDancer Arte Phillips was so vain, we couldn’t stand it.  Well, we could, because we all loved him so.  “Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful!” became his standard mantra anytime Arte wanted to make someone smile (or when we asked him how many different blond streaks he had in his hair that week!).  He began as a talented ballroom dancer, was featured – and won – on Star Search in the 80s, and took class for many years at Phil Black’s Dance Studio to hone his Broadway skills.  Arte performed in Grand Hotel and Victor, Victoria on Broadway, as well as countless tours and industrials, and always gave back to the community when it came time for Gypsy of the Year, or Broadway Bares (where he choreographed AND graciously showed us that gorgeous body of his!).  He was the Hustle King, the Salsa Champ and teacher and choreographer extraordinaire.  He toured the country and the world, dancing his heart out.

Arte died in his sleep at home in Philadelphia on November 12th.  He was planning to move back to New York City and buy a place either in his old neighborhood in Queens or Manhattan.  He was 49 years old (see photo of Arte with fellow dancer Billy Marti at the Phil Black event, below right).

Arte Phillips and Billy MartiArte performed for DO40 at the Phil Black 80th birthday party in June of 2008, with Stephanie Risser and Carolina Almont (see photo in costume, above left), and you can watch it on our youtube site, www.youtube.com/dancersover40.  That number was reprised at his memorial service, again with Stephanie and Carolina along with Kristine Bendul.

As fate would have it, I bumped into Arte  right before DO40’s Jack Cole event in October –in front of my apartment building in midtown.  He was in the city looking for a place -- again.  We talked for almost an hour, as I hadn’t seen him since the Phil Black event.  He was bubbly and charming as usual.  We dished about romance, and how he was aging (pretty damn well!).  Matter of fact, he looked like a country/western star that day, with the light brown corduroy sport jacket and (of course) scarf and jeans.  He never pulled the “beautiful” routine on me, maybe because I was there the day he climbed those stairs to take his first class at Phil Black’s, back in the early 80s.  We hit it off immediately, and after taking, probably just two of my beginner classes, Phil grabbed him and put him in the advanced class.  Arte was clever.  He knew he could go right into Phil’s advanced class, but he wanted to learn Phil’s warm-up and across the floor with beginners before going into his class!

Arte Phillips Remembered

The Phil Black Gang at Arte’s Memorial :  (l to r, back) Alan Onickel, Mary McCatty, Leslie Riddle, Anthony Bova, Billy Marti, (front) Phil Black’s sister, Mary and producer of the event, Nancy Murton         

As for the memorial, it was SRO.  I spoke for Phil Black who couldn’t attend (he is now in the Actors’ Fund Home in New Jersey), director/ choreographers Jerry Mitchell and Maria Torres (Maria helmed the event along with Nancy Murton) added their funny, loving Arte moments and Raymond del Barrio brought the house to laughter and tears with his spot-on imitation of Arte in Fierce Form.  Dancers and Singers from Grand Hotel performed and friend Bill Ryall showed a clip of a dance duo parody where he played Arte (with hair…).  Arte’s mom, Liz, and his sister Pam also spoke, and David Elder, Arte’s partner of many years, sang and danced his heart out for his friend.  As I said, laughter and tears, in almost … equal amounts.

Adam and Eve and Steve

Carlos Sierra Lopez, David Elder and Kristine Bendul perform Adam and Eve and Steve
from Broadway Bares, Choreographed by Arte.

If you’d like to make a donation in Arte’s memory, his mom, Elizabeth Halbreich, has set up a non-profit organization to help dancers in need.  Donations can be sent directly to her, payable to Arte Phillips Dance Inc., 7546 Pebbles Shores Terrace, Lake Worth, FL 33467, or donations are accepted at Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS in his name.

Grand Hotel

Jerry Mitchell

 

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