Ballet Stars
Photo Courtesy Elliott Arkin.

You can find Tiler Peck just about anywhere these days—onstage at New York City Ballet, in commercials, on "The Ellen Degeneres Show." And let's not forget starring in 2014's Little Dancer, a musical that followed the creation of Edgar Degas' famous sculpture, "Little Dancer Aged 14." Peck played Marie van Goethem, the young Paris Opéra Ballet School student who modeled for Degas. Now, she's reprising the role—er, her likeness is—for a good cause. Visual artist Elliott Arkin has created a series of limited edition sculptures of Peck as the Little Dancer. Proceeds will go to Dance Against Cancer, the annual benefit concert for the American Cancer Society produced by NYCB principal Daniel Ulbricht and Manhattan Youth Ballet programming director Erin Fogarty (both of whom lost a parent to the disease). Peck will also be part of the event's star-studded cast; all of the dancers donate their time, and most perform in memory of a loved one.

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NYCB's Amar Ramasar and Tiler Peck perfrom at the 2016 Dance Against Cancer benefit. Photo by Christopher Duggan, Courtesy of DAC.

When New York City Ballet principal Daniel Ulbricht and Manhattan Youth Ballet programming director Erin Fogarty first produced Dance Against Cancer: An Evening to Benefit the American Cancer Society back in 2010, they likely had no idea how big it would become. Now a highly anticipated annual event, Dance Against Cancer has raised almost $1 million for cancer research and has expanded to include THE YOUTH MOVEMENT, a performance featuring local dance students. DAC has even outgrown its venue—this year's one-night-only performance, held on Monday, May 8, at the AXA Equitable Theater, has long been sold out.

The evening features star dancers and choreographers, who all donate their time to create a memorable and heartfelt performance. Many have been touched personally by cancer (Ulbricht and Fogarty have both lost a parent to the disease). In an interview with Pointe last year, Ulbricht noted that so many ask to participate that they have to turn dancers away. “As their own family or friends or mentors suffer," he said, “I think they feel compelled to ask, 'What can I do?' "

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Whoever thinks dancing is a selfish profession hasn't met New York City Ballet principal Daniel Ulbricht. Once again, he’s joining forces with the American Cancer Society for his annual Dance Against Cancer benefit on April 27 in New York City. Ulbricht, whose mother is currently battling uterine cancer, and his co-producer Erin Fogarty, who lost her father to colon cancer, conceived of the event in 2010, bringing stars from the ballet, modern and Broadway worlds together for a dance-packed evening—with all proceeds going to the American Cancer Society. Since then, they’ve raised $325,000—and that doesn’t include this year’s total!

 

What’s even better is that the dancers volunteer their (very valuable) time. This year’s roster includes NYCB’s Maria Kowroski, Sara Mearns, Tiler Peck, Robert Fairchild and Amar Ramasar; American Ballet Theatre’s Stella Abrera, Gillian Murphy, Herman Cornejo and Marcelo Gomes; Boston Ballet’s Jeffrey Cirio, Alvin Ailey’s Matthew Rushing; Desmond Richardson; Sasha Radetsky and many more. These dancers' hearts are just as big as their talent. For tickets and donation information, click here.

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