The Art of Giving Back

When dancers want to help out, they call a few good friends.
Published in the December 2011/January 2012 issue.

Photos by Matthew Murphy


New York City Ballet principal Daniel Ulbricht had no difficulty lining up performers for his “Dance Against Cancer” benefit last spring. The event raised some $30,000 for the American Cancer Society, and there was an extra level of dedication that evening at the Manhattan Movement & Arts Center: Nearly all of the participants, who donated their services, had someone close who had died from cancer or battled it. Benefit co-producer Erin Fogarty, a former member of Carolina Ballet and now director of programming for MMAC’s Manhattan Youth Ballet, recently lost her father to the disease. Ulbricht’s mother is being treated for uterine cancer. “I jumped at the idea of a benefit when Erin suggested it,” Ulbricht says. “I could finally repay my mom for all the love and support she’s given me.” Seven NYCB colleagues joined him, as well as  members of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Lar Lubovitch Dance Company, Keigwin + Company and Carolina Ballet. “All of us wanted to do something,” he says, “and dance is what we do.”

Daniel Ulbricht rehearses a solo he choreographed, "Tatum Pole Boogie"

Wendy Whelan and Craig Hall perform Christopher Wheeldon’s intricate partnering in "After the Rain"

Former MCB soloist Alex Wong in "747," a piece by Canadian choreographer Rachael Poirier

“'Mozartiana' is a special work for me. A tape of it was the last thing my mother saw me dance before she died.” —Maria Kowroski, here rehearsing the "Prayer" solo from Balanchine's "Mozartiana"