Career Transition Merges with The Actors Fund
Two organizations, each with a long history of helping dancers, will merge, to better serve us all. By the end of this year, Career Transition For Dancers' operations will move into The Actors Fund's offices in Manhattan, L.A. and Chicago.
This is great news. Since you may be more familiar with CTFD—which holds its 30th-anniversary gala tonight at NY City Center—let me first explain what the Actors Fund is.
The Actors Fund, founded in 1882, has a fascinating history protecting actors and performers, a species that was discriminated against after actor John Wilkes Booth assassinated President Lincoln. For 133 years, The Actors Fund has helped everyone who works in the entertainment industry: actors, dancers, singers, designers, writers, sound technicians, administrators, directors, film editors and stagehands.
Bebe Neuwirth photo @ Matthew Karas
The Tony Award-winning Bebe Neuwirth, a trustee of the Actors Fund, says, “In working together, both organizations will be better positioned to help more dancers across the country to thrive during all phases of their careers."
A few years ago Neuwirth (who wrote a wonderful “Why I Dance") started an excellent program within the Actors Fund called the Dancers' Resource. It helps dancers deal with the physical, emotional and financial fallout from injuries. It just so happens that the coordinator of the Dancers' Resource is former ABT dancer Amy Wilder, who used CTFD services to find her new profession of social work.
Shirley MacLaine, photo courtesy CTFD
Happily, for everyone in attendance, the slinky, subtle Neuwirth will perform in “All That Jazz" at the CTFD gala tonight. The Rolex Dance Award Honoree is Shirley MacLaine, and performers include the fabulous Jason Samuels Smith (a 2009 Dance Magazine Awardee) and dancers from American Ballet Theatre, Jazz Roots Dance Company, National Dance Institute and Parsons Dance. For tickets, click here.
Just hearing the word "improvisation" is enough to make some ballet dancers shake in their pointe shoes. But for Chantelle Pianetta, it's a practice she relishes. Depending on the weekend, you might find her gracing Bay Area stages as a principal with Menlowe Ballet or sweeping in awards at West Coast swing competitions.
She specializes in Jack and Jill events, which involve improvised swing dancing with an unexpected partner in front of a panel of judges. (Check her out in action below.) While sustaining her ballet career, over the past four years Pianetta has quickly risen from novice to champion level on the WCS international competition circuit.
Sean Dorsey was always going to be an activist. Growing up in a politically engaged, progressive family in Vancouver, British Columbia, "it was my heart's desire to create change in the world," he says. Far less certain was his future as a dancer.
Like many dancers, Dorsey fell in love with movement as a toddler. However, he didn't identify strongly with any particular gender growing up. Dorsey, who now identifies as trans, says, "I didn't see a single person like me anywhere in the modern dance world." The lack of trans role models and teachers, let alone all-gender studio facilities where he could feel safe and welcome, "meant that even in my wildest dreams, there was no room for that possibility."
It's hour three of an intense rehearsal, you're feeling mentally foggy and exhausted, and your stomach hurts. Did you know the culprit could be something as simple as dehydration?
Proper hydration helps maintain physical and mental function while you're dancing, and keeps your energy levels high. But with so many products on the market promising to help you rehydrate more effectively, how do you know when it's time to reach for more than water?