February 27, 2014
LAWT Wire Services
New York, NY – Dance Theatre of Harlem (DTH) held its 2014 Vision 2014Gala on February 25th at Cipriani 42 in New York City.
As Dance Theatre of Harlem celebrates its 45th Anniversary, this year’s gala was themed “Live the Moment” and raised $700,000, $75,000 of which resulted from the entertaining live auction conducted by Audrey Smaltz,with the proceeds benefitting the DTH School’s Next Generation and Community Engagement Funds.
Honorees were Grammy Award-winning recording artist Patti LaBelle with the Arthur Mitchell Vision Award; dance educator and arts advocate Jody Gottfried Arnhold with The Carl and Lily Pforzheimer Foundation Medal; and Goldman, Sachs & Co. senior partner Valentino D. Carlotti with the inaugural Virtuoso Award.
The evening’s honorary chair was Billy Joel (not in attendance).
There were performances by the Dance Theatre of Harlem School to “Over the Rainbow,” choreographed by School Director Endalyn Taylor; a preview of the Dance Theatre of Harlem Company’s forthcoming spring season at Jazz at Lincoln Centerwith an excerpt from “The Pas de Dix from Raymonda;” as well as a special tribute performance by the Company to Ms. LaBelle, choreographed by resident choreographer Robert Garland.
However, the surprise performance of the evening was from “Lady Marmalade” herself when she ended her acceptance speech with an acapella rendition of “The Lord’s Prayer,” with opera singer Jessye Norman joining her, along with the entire audience, in singing amen.
“I can dance, but they dance like angels,” said LaBelle during her acceptance speech, referring to the Dance Theatre of Harlem Company tribute performance. “This is my 52nd year in this business called show and to be honored by the Dance Theatre of Harlem for their 45th year anniversary, I feel so blessed, so honored,” she continued during a short dinner break in the program.
Nearly 400 corporate sponsors, supporters, friends, alumni and members of the board attended the event, including journalist Paula Zahn, Malaak Compton Rock, Kimberly Chandler, Miss USA 2012 Nana Meriwether, Isiah and Lynne Thomas; Miss New York City 2014 KiraKazantsev, philanthropists Samuel Peabody, Judith M. Hoffman, Jean Shafiroff, Beverly D’Anne and Guy Mognaz.
“It was a very special evening that brought together the tremendous talent and expertise of our Company dancers and the great potential in our DTH school students. What a perfect celebration of the past 45 years of Dance Theatre of Harlem, to see the legendary Patti LaBelle take the stage to receive the Arthur Mitchell Vision Award from our longtime board member Jessye Norman, and to say thank you to honorees Valentino D. Carlotti and Jody Gottfried Arnhold for all that they’ve done for Dance Theatre of Harlem, the arts and education,” says Virginia Johnson, Artistic Director.
Members of Dance Theatre of Harlem’s Board of Directors were also on hand for the star-studded celebration, including Chairman of the Board Kendrick Ashton, Jr., Gala Committee Chair Leslie Wims Morris, along with board membersAlpha Mom’s Isabel Kallman, DTH Vice Chairman of the Board Michael Armstrong, Trey Muldrow, Kevin Cofsky, Zandra Perry Ogbomo, and AliyaLeeKong.
Among the Vision Gala’s sponsors were Jody and John Arnhold; Goldman Sachs & Co; American Express; Siris Capital Group, LLC; Isabel and Craig Kallman; GiftCards.com; CenterLight Healthcare; Disney; Fried Frank; and Akin Gump. The gala reception was sponsored by BET Networks. “We are thrilled and very grateful for the wonderful support shown by so many corporations and individuals,” remarked Laveen Naidu, Executive Director of Dance Theatre of Harlem. “This gala helps make it possible for Dance Theatre of Harlem to continue making a difference around the world with our performances, community engagement and education programs.”