On Wednesday, April 20, 2016, Dancewave held its annual Spring Gala at Roulette in Brooklyn, honoring Mia Michaels, Wendy Evans Joseph, and Laurie Cumbo. In celebration of dance, diversity, mentorship, and community, the night was extremely successful, raising over $57,000 in donations to date!

Gala attendees—an eclectic mix of politicians, arts advocates, dance icons, and financiers—gathered among hors d’oeuvres and cocktails, posing for pictures on their way into the ballroom. As guests found their seats, the program opened with a performance by Dancewave’s Amazing Creatures Ensemble (ACE). The young dancers, ranging in age from 7-9 years old, performed a Beatles tribute choreographed by Dancewave ACE Coaches/Mentors Mariah Martens and Nikki Holk. Dressed in all white, the piece featured a medley of “I Want to Hold Your Hand” and “I’ve Just Seen a Face.” The energetic dance set the tone for the rest of the night perfectly!

Saundra Thomas, Dancewave Board Chair Emeritus and Gala 2015 Honoree, officially welcomed guests from the stage and shared humbling words about Dancewave: “Dancewave is going to be around for a long time, and it is part of a cornerstone of this community.” Saundra welcomed Nikki Feirt Atkins to the stage to present our first honoree of the evening. Honoree Mia Michaels—creator, choreographer, director, and a heavy influence on many dancers of this generation—accepted her award and spoke beautifully on mentorship and her personal relationship to dance. “Dance saved my life,” she said. “We do have the power to change lives. Dance and the arts have the power to change lives.”

After receiving her award, Mia watched Dancewave Company perform an excerpt from Gallim Dance repertory “Pupil Suite.” An exciting piece with bright colored costumes, the high energy of Spring Gala 2016 kept going.


Next to be honored was Dancewave’s dear friend and lead architect of our upcoming capital project, Wendy Evans Joseph. Presented by former American Ballet Theater Principal Martine Van Hamel, Wendy spoke of her vision for Dancewave’s new facility and how she creates spaces to inspire the people using them.

Our final honoree of the evening was NYC Council Member Laurie Cumbo who is also the founder of Brooklyn’s Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts. Presented by Saundra Thomas, Laurie took the stage by storm, reminding Brooklyn why we are Brooklyn and sharing inspiring truths about diversity and women’s empowerment in the community. Speaking to Dancewave’s predominantly-female Company and straight to the hearts of Dancewave’s all-female staff, Laurie stated:

“How can we continue to expand the boundaries of what’s possible? How can we inspire our young girls in particular to know that they can lead at the same level as their male counterparts…I feel it’s the most incredible and dynamic time in the entire world to be a woman. We are rising up, we are having our voices heard in an equal way.”

The program closed with an auction, raising funds for Dancewave to provide scholarships to students in need. Dancewave thanks all of our supporters for such a fun, successful Gala evening. We know we could not have done it without your help!

Photo credit: Travis Magee. For more awesome photos, check out our album on Facebook!

Watch our Dancewave Gala 2016 video on Vimeo!