Sarah Lane will perform in one of the "You Are Us" benefit concerts. Photo by Erin Baiano, Courtesy ABT

ABT Principal Sarah Lane Is Performing to Benefit Victims of the Christchurch Terrorist Attacks

After the horrific March 15 terrorist attacks at two New Zealand mosques, the music and arts community sprang into action to plan a way to help victims and their families. A series of resulting concerts, titled "You Are Us/Aroha Nui," will take place in New Zealand (April 13 and 17), Jersey City, New Jersey (April 17) and Los Angeles (April 18). Proceeds from ticket sales will be donated to the Our People, Our City Fund, which was established by the Christchurch Foundation to aid those affected by the attacks.


A variety of artists and speakers—including American Ballet Theatre principal Sarah Lane, opera singer Marie Te Hapuku, a traditional Māori dance troupe and several bands—will perform in Jersey City, right in New York City's backyard.

Lane, who lives in Jersey City, heard about the event from Julie Daugherty, a physical therapist at ABT. "One of the organizers is her husband," she says. Lane volunteered to perform a solo in her town's benefit. "Religion is something that is sacred and personal," she says, "and it's so unfortunate that a place of peace and love was completely invaded by hatred."

Reflecting on her religious upbringing in the Christian faith, Lane says, "I really felt for the people who were affected, and I think that the arts can at least bring a little bit of comfort in a situation like this."

Lane's solo, titled "Bi Thusa Mo Shuile," was choreographed for her by her former teacher Jamey Leverett. Lane initially performed it at the Jackson International Ballet Competition when she was a high school senior. Set to Gaelic and instrumental versions of the traditional hymn "Be Thou My Vision," she says the solo still holds special meaning for her.

"As humans and as artists, in the most difficult times, there is always still a light and purpose and hope."

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Moving Forward by Looking Back: A Week at the L.A. Tap Festival Online

I turned to tap at the outset of the European lockdown as a meaningful escape from the anxiety of the pandemic. As a dance historian specialized in dance film, I've seen my fair share of tap on screen, but my own training remains elementary. While sheltering in place, my old hardwood floors beckoned. I wanted to dig deeper in order to better understand tap's origins and how the art form has evolved today. Not so easy to accomplish in France, especially from home.

Enter the L.A. Tap Fest's first online edition.

Alongside 100 other viewers peering out from our respective Zoom windows, I watch a performer tap out rhythms on a board in their living room. Advanced audio settings allow us to hear their feet. In the chat box, valuable resources are being shared and it's common to see questions like, "Can you post the link to that vaudeville book you mentioned?" Greetings and words of gratitude are also exchanged as participants trickle in and out from various times zones across the US and around the world.

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