2014 Fire Island Dance Festival Breaks Record with $533,860 Raised for Dancers Responding to AIDS

2014 Fire Island Dance Festival Breaks Record with $533,860 Raised for Dancers Responding to AIDS

Fire Island Dance Festival celebrated its 20th anniversary edition July 18-20, 2014, with artistry, gravity-defying movement, romance and remembrance, raising a record-shattering $533,860 for Dancers Responding to AIDS, a program of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.

The festival, performed outdoors on the shores of the Great South Bay in Fire Island Pines, included the world premieres of works choreographed by Joshua Bergasse, Marcelo Gomes, Nick Kenkel, Patrick Makuaka?ne and Troy Schumacher. During the festival's 20 years, 48 new works have had their world premieres(#fidance). With the help of a stellar lineup of dancers, choreographers and generous supporters, this year's total eclipsed last year's record-setting $393,647.

In its 20 editions, Fire Island Dance Festival has raised more than $3.8 million to help ensure that those who need it most can receive lifesaving medications and health care, nutritious meals, counseling and emergency financial assistance. This year's festival featured 48 professional dancers entertaining sold?out crowds with ballet, modern, Broadway and even traditional Hawaiian dance.

"At moment's like this, we must take time to remember all the talent, creativity and friendships we've lost, while celebrating the progress we've made and the opportunities we have to make a difference for those who need our help the most," said Denise Roberts Hurlin, founding director of Dancers Responding to AIDS. "We could not have achieved as much as we have without the unwavering support of the Fire Island Pines community, our generous donors and sponsors, the immensely talented dancers and choreographers and our committed core of tireless volunteers."

The 20th anniversary edition of Fire Island Dance Festival included these memorable performances:

- In the romantic pas de deux from Romeo and Juliet, Marcelo Gomes, renowned principal dancer for American Ballet Theatre, charmed Luciana Paris, a member of the corps de ballet, from her second?story balcony. The love?struck couple melted into each other, avoiding for as long as they could the sweet sorrow of parting.

- Sara Mearns, principal dancer for New York City Ballet, traded her pointe shoes for sassy heels, lighting up the stage in a slinky, sexy Broadway showstopper. Mearns was supported by eight spectacular male dancers, who lifted, tossed and twirled the bright? eyed ingénue. "Stairway to Paradise," set to a jazzy Gershwin song, was created by Emmy Award?winning choreographer Joshua Bergasse, who will make his Broadway choreographic debut with this fall's revival of On the Town.

- Ailey II concluded each show with its soul-stirring "Wade in the Water" from Revelations. With the rhythmically energizing traditional spiritual as the musical background, a devotional leader brings a young couple to the water's edge, baptizing them in a rousing number that frees body and spirit.

- Nick Kenkel, a gifted Broadway gypsy-turned-choreographer and director, premiered "Good in Goodbye," an Afropop?infused group number that affectionately paid tribute to a friend lost too soon and celebrated the gifts left behind.

- Jon Eden from MOMIX mesmerized the standing-room-only audience with the stunning "Man Fan." Eden masterfully manipulated a 22-foot-tall fan of silk to create dramatic, rippling effects in a magical duet with the wind.