On Wednesday, April 26, 2017, Dancewave held it’s annual Spring Gala at Roulette, Brooklyn honoring Jody Gottfried Arnhold, Camille A. Brown, and Velmanette Montgomery. The night was a huge success raising $61,000 in funds, over $4,000 more than last year!

The night began with a cocktail hour as guests arrived seeking shelter in the bustling ballroom from the cold and rainy outdoors. VIP attendees rushed upstairs to a special reception where they chatted with the honorees. Everyone ate, drank, and reveled in the anticipation of the coming events of the evening.

The next portion of the event began with welcome remarks followed by JoAnn Simon presenting the award to her “political sister,” Velmanette Montgomery. Dancewave Company III took the stage after Velmanette’s speech to perform “Baiana” choreographed by Julia Ehrstrand. The energetic young dancers swept across the stage, highlighting the youngsters as Dancewave’s generation of future stars.

A performance of Camille A. Brown’s “New Second Line” followed. The Dancewave Company I dancers felt honored to perform the piece for Camille herself who eagerly sat in the front row. The performances created an air of excitement and pride as parents and community members beamed over the work of the young Dancewavers.

Anna Frogoso and John-Mario Sevilla riffed off each other in a humorous introduction for honoree Jody Gottfried Arnhold. Jody showed a trailer for her Emmy nominated film PS Dance!a film that “interviews 16 kids and captures more than 100 students, who joyfully share the influence of dance on their daily learning.” Jody, former dance educator and dance ambassador shared gratitude for Dancewave who’s mission aligns with her own, to spread dance throughout communities.

The highlight of the night for many guests was Kyle Abraham’s surprise introduction of famed choreographer Camille A. Brown. The room dimmed as Kyle’s voice boomed over the crowd from a mic in the back of the room. Kyle reminisced about meeting Camille for the first time after she had been rejected from the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. The story especially resonated with the audience full of young faces who felt inspired by the two successful choreographers sharing a story of rejection and hardship at the beginning of their careers.

The evening closed with an auction, raising funds for Dancewave to progress the scholarship initiative ensuring access to dance education for students in need. Dancewave’s Spring Gala 2017 was a huge success! The Gala would not have been a success without those who helped. Thank you and see you next year!

Photo credit: Linneah Anders & Jen Henriquez. For more awesome photos, check out our album on Facebook!