Dance Against Cancer Is Back With a Starry Outdoor Gala—and It Will Also Be Livestreamed
The annual Dance Against Cancer gala is back in full force this year, bringing major dance stars together on Monday, June 21, to raise money for the American Cancer Society. Held in Lincoln Center’s outdoor Damrosch Park, it will be New York City’s largest in-person ticketed event since the onset of the pandemic. And for the first time, this year’s gala will also be livestreamed by Nel Shelby Productions for international audiences. The evening’s finale—a tribute to first responders, medical professionals, educators, mentors and other heroes who have lost their lives to cancer or are battling it—stars special guest Kevin Boseman, a former dancer with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and Martha Graham Dance Company, a cancer survivor, and the brother of the late actor Chadwick Boseman.
New York City Ballet principal Daniel Ulbricht and fellow co-director Erin Fogarty founded DAC in 2010 after each experienced having a loved one diagnosed with cancer. Since then, the organization has raised over $2.3 million for the American Cancer Society through annual benefit galas and fundraising initiatives. “One in three people are affected by this disease,” says Ulbricht. “There’s still a lot of work to be done.”
This year’s lineup stars over 25 dancers from companies across the U.S., including New York City Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and Jacob Jonas the Company, with unique cross-company collaborations and performances by celebrated tap and ballroom artists. “Every one of these dancers donates their services,” says Ulbricht. “It’s humility and generosity at its finest.” “Dancing With the Stars” Season 29 runner-up Nev Schulman will emcee the evening.
“This is a very visceral, raw, personal performance,” says Ulbricht. “It’s very vulnerable, but it’s also safe, embraced and supported. As artists, it reminds us why we do what we do.”
Read on to learn more about the DAC 2021 performance lineup:
- Nev Schulman and New York City Ballet principal Tiler Peck in a premiere by Broadway choreographer James Gray
- A solo by tap icon Ayodele Casel
- Peck and fellow NYCB dancer Roman Mejia in the Black Swan coda
- ABT principals Thomas Forster and Hee Seo in the Black Swan pas de deux
- A solo by Broadway dancer, “So You Think You Can Dance” alum and former Miami City Ballet first soloist Alex Wong
- Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater associate artistic director Matthew Rushing in a rare return-to-the-stage solo
- Jacob Jonas the Company in a new work with music by Steve Hackman
- ABT’s Devon Teuscher and NYCB’s Miriam Miller in I Am Enough, adapted from Victoria Duncan’s film of the same name and restaged specifically for Dance Against Cancer by Adriana Pierce
- ABT corps member Betsy McBride and Martha Graham Dance Company principal Lloyd Knight in a world premiere by Darrell Grand Moultrie
- Daniel Ulbricht in a self-choreographed solo
- A performance by international ballroom duo DNA
- A solo by Parsons Dance Company’s Zoey Anderson
- Kevin Boseman in the premiere of Frederick Earl Mosely’s A Tribute To Our Heroes, accompanied by students from the National Dance Institute and The Boys and Girls Choir of Harlem Alumni Ensemble—the soloist of which is also a cancer survivor
DAC will be held Monday, June 21, at 7:30 pm ET. For more information about in-person and livestream tickets, go to dacny.org.