On Monday night, “Dance Against Cancer” raised over $25,000 for the American Cancer Society. The event, held at Manhattan Movement & Arts Center, was co-produced by Daniel Ulbricht, whose mother is currently battling uterine cancer. It featured several of Ulbricht’s fellow New York City Ballet dancers, along with “So You Think You Can Dance” star Alex Wong and members of Keigwin + Company, Lar Lubovich Dance Company and more. The evening was driven by a strong sense of purpose: We learned during an introductory film that each participant had been touched by cancer in some way.
NYCB’s Maria Kowroski gave a poignant performance of Balanchine’s Mozartiana, the last piece her mother saw her dance before succumbing to breast cancer. In this context, her skyward focus and prayer-like appeals took on new meaning. Ulbricht’s self-choreographed, high-flying solo ended with him collapsing on the ground in (partially) exaggerated exhaustion. It drew a standing ovation from the crowd, as Ulbricht blew kisses to his mother, who was in the audience. Keigwin’s playful Love Songs duets were sprinkled throughout the show, adding a note of humor and celebration to the evening. We left feeling energized and united in the goal proposed by ACS’ Kris Kim, of creating “a world with less cancer and more birthdays.”