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Fire Island Dance Festival Raises $533,860 For Fight Against AIDS

Wednesday Jul 23, 2014
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  (Source:Sara Mearns)

Fire Island Dance Festival celebrated its 20th anniversary edition July 18-20, 2014, with artistry, gravity-defying movement, romance and remembrance, raising a record-shattering $533,860 for Dancers Responding to AIDS, a program of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.

The festival, performed outdoors on the shores of the Great South Bay in Fire Island Pines, included the world premieres of works choreographed by Joshua Bergasse, Marcelo Gomes, Nick Kenkel, Patrick Makuakāne and Troy Schumacher. During the festival's 20 years, 48 new works have had their world premieres at Fire Island Dance Festival (#fidance).

With the help of a stellar lineup of dancers, choreographers and generous supporters, this year's total eclipsed last year's record-setting $393,647. In its 20 editions, Fire Island Dance Festival has raised more than $3.8 million to help ensure that those who need it most can receive lifesaving medications and health care, nutritious meals, counseling and emergency financial assistance.

This year's festival featured 48 professional dancers entertaining sold-out crowds with ballet, modern, Broadway and even traditional Hawaiian dance.

"At moment's like this, we must take time to remember all the talent, creativity and friendships we've lost, while celebrating the progress we've made and the opportunities we have to make a difference for those who need our help the most," said Denise Roberts Hurlin, founding director of Dancers Responding to AIDS. "We could not have achieved as much as we have without the unwavering support of the Fire Island Pines community, our generous donors and sponsors, the immensely talented dancers and choreographers and our committed core of tireless volunteers."

Critically acclaimed choreographers Jerry Mitchell and Larry Keigwin shared hosting duties. Both have had distinguished careers as performers and choreographers. Mitchell is the two-time Tony-winning director and choreographer of the 2013 Tony-winning Best Musical, "Kinky Boots." Keigwin is artistic director of one of the country's most electrifying dance companies, KEIGWIN + COMPANY, and this year made his Broadway choreographic debut with the hit musical "If/Then."

Mark Stuart Dance Theatre performed excerpts of its new dance musical, "STANDARD TIME," on July 18, as part of an exclusive festival kick-off event for Leadership Supporters at the Albert Lepage Pavilion at Whyte Hall.

Dancers Responding to AIDS, founded in 1991 by former Paul Taylor Dance Company members Denise Roberts Hurlin and Hernando Cortez, relies on the extraordinary compassion and efforts of the performing arts community to fund a safety net of social services for those in need. As a program of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, DRA supports more than 450 AIDS and family service organizations nationwide as well as the essential programs of The Actors Fund, including the HIV/AIDS Initiative and The Dancers' Resource.

For more information, please visit Dancers Responding to AIDS at dradance.org .

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