When hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast on October 29, Colleen Cericola's Staten Island home, which she shared with her two children, was completely destroyed, along with all of her possessions. That same night, her neighbor Patricia Dresch, lost her husband George and her 13-year-old daughter Angela in the storm.
Ellison Ballet instructor Erin Forrest met the two families while volunteering to clean and salvage the remains of the Dresch home, and soon afterwards she convinced director Edward Ellison to turn this year's winter showcase into a gala benefit. This weekend, one hundred percent of the proceeds from the school's performances at Manhattan Movement and Arts Center will go to the two Staten Island families. Since transforming the show into a fundraising event, a number of high profile guest artists have signed up to donate their dancing: New York City Ballet's Gonzalo Garcia, Dance Theatre of Harlem's Michaela DePrince, 14-year-old wunderkind Aran Bell, as well as dancers from Juilliard, the Steps Repertory Ensemble, Manhattan Youth Ballet and the Gelsey Kirkland Academy. A silent auction will be held throughout the evening, and even if you can't make the show, you can still contribute by donating directly via PayPal. Find out more at ellisonballet.com.