Fundraising initiative helps NYC’s dancers as pandemic continues

Local News

WEST SIDE, Manhattan — It’s been 402 days since most live dance and theater performances came to a screeching halt in New York City, but now there’s a new fundraising initiative to help dancers and bring back live performances: I❤️Dance NYC.

It debuted in a socially distanced way Sunday on the rooftop of the Empire Hotel, in the shadow of Lincoln Center. The organization gives dancers a platform to perform but also raises money so dancers can apply for emergency aid to help them through the next few months before the curtain rises again.

“It’s time for dancers to get back on stage,” Kimberly Giannelli, co founder I ❤️Dance NYC, told PIX11 News. “They’re struggling financially, mentally. They train their entire life. It’s time.”

Dancers from American Ballet Theatre, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, New York City Ballet, Tap, Broadway and more all participated, dancing in front of an audience who paid $100 a ticket for brunch, mimosas and magnificent dance.

“People are donating and giving to help dancers,” Melissa Gerstein, co founder I ❤️ Dance NYC, told PIX11 News. “We’re building a fund  and we’re going to support them.”

More than 75 percent of professional dancers are facing incredible financial hardships, unable to pay their rent or food bills. So to, many dancers, I ❤️DanceNYC is a godsend.

“It’s an amazing feeling when you have live performances,” Christine Shevchenko, a principal dancer with American Ballet Theatre, told PIX11 News. “So it had been so challenging this past year.”

Tap dancer Ayodele Casel was also grateful for the fundraiser.

“The entire initiative of I❤️Dance, this is what we have needed,” Casel said.

To find put more about this fundraising initiative, go to iHeartDanceNYC.com

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