Here’s a little story for you:
Back in December, I was able to take a master class at ABT from Daniel Ulbricht, principal dancer with New York City Ballet and founder of Dance Against Cancer. He offered masterful, fun tips on both pedagogy and technique, as well as creating an impact on students and community. And he actually puts those into action.
If you are wondering what Dance Against Cancer is, here’s some info from the Dance Against Cancer website:
Join us at the American Cancer Society’s 7th Annual Dance Against Cancer to be held on Monday, May 8, 2017 for a one-of-a-kind evening where guests will enjoy world premiere dance performances from companies including New York City Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and many more as well as cocktails, passed hors d’oeuvres, a spectacular auction, and much more.
The American Cancer Society is working to finish the fight against every cancer in every community. We are the largest private, not-for-profit funder of cancer research in the United States, investing more than $4 billion since 1946. Thanks in part to our contributions, more than 1.5 million lives have been saved in the US in the past two decades.
From what I can tell, the performances are not centered on the topic of cancer. Some pieces look like familiar works that showcase the dancers talent rather than a connection to or inspiration from cancer, the disease itself or a person living with or lost to it.
Here is a personal story:
The last piece my dad saw me dance before losing his life to mesothelioma- the form of cancer commonly caused by asbestos exposure- was the Dying Swan variation in 2010. If I had known it was going to be the last time he saw me dance, I might have picked something else. I had no idea how sick he was at the time. I don’t think I wanted to know. Even if I had the chance of a re-do, I’m not sure what I would want to dance to really honor my father or to say goodbye. In the face of such an overwhelming disease, what can dance do?
Perhaps the great thing about the curation of this event is actually the lack of focus on cancer itself and instead the celebration of life, of talent being used to fight against it. Here, dance is a tool for raising awareness, funds, and spirits.
Other times dance has supported cancer/ cure research:
- Remind me again what SDP stands for? oh, thanks
- Movement for Kids- National Children’s Cancer Society (aw, this picture of me with my dad…)
If you want to help Dancers Against Cancer raise awareness- and you want to feel inferior/inspired as a dancer- check out the Tour for a Cure video posted by DAC founder, Daniel Ulbricht. Watch and learn..
A dance in itself, is not going to cure cancer. But a cure, wishing it had been available for my dad and hoping it is soon for so many others, is a good reason to dance.