Guide to the 20th Fire Island Dance Festival- with Jerry Mitchell, Josh Bergasse, Desmond Richardson & More!
Critically acclaimed choreographers Larry Keigwin and Jerry Mitchell will host the 20th Anniversary of Fire Island Dance Festival (#fidance), the most anticipated cultural event of the season on Fire Island. Some of the most-talked-about dancers and dance companies will perform an exciting mix of Broadway, ballet, Hawaiian and modern dance July 18-20. Since its humble beginnings in 1995 with seven dancers on a makeshift stage, the festival has grown to become the charitable event of the summer in Fire Island Pines, raising more than $3.3 million. The festival is produced by and benefits Dancers Responding to AIDS, a program of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.
Keigwin and Mitchell will share their insider insights and backstage stories as they welcome more than 50 performers to the outdoor stage. Keigwin has danced his way from the Metropolitan Opera to downtown clubs to Broadway and Mitchell is a two-time Tony Award-winning director and choreographer who has been involved with more than 50 Broadway, Off-Broadway, West End and touring productions.
Keigwin founded KEIGWIN + COMPANY in 2003 and, as artistic director, has led the company in performances nationwide. His work in musical theatre includes choreography for the American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco and the recent Off-Broadway production of Rent, for which he received The Joe A. Callaway Award from the Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation. This season, Keigwin choreographed the new Broadway hit musical If/Then, starring Idina Menzel.
Mitchell received the Tony Award for best choreography for the 2013 Tony-winning Best Musical Kinky Boots, for which he was also nominated as director. His Broadway debut as a choreographer, You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown, was soon followed by his first Tony Award for La Cage Aux Folles and Tony nominations for The Full Monty, Hairspray, Never Gonna Dance, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels and Legally Blonde, which he also directed. Last year, Mitchell received the Drama League's Founders' Award for Excellence in Directing and the George Abbott Lifetime Achievement Award from his peers. Mitchell also created and remains executive producer of Broadway Bares, a wildly successful modern-day burlesque show produced annually by and benefiting Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.
This year's Fire Island Dance Festival will feature performances by:
- Ailey II, presenting the beloved "Wade in the Water" from Revelations, an exciting return after the piece was performed at Fire Island Dance Festival in 2003.
- BalletCollective, displaying the collaborative vision of artists from different genres in an intriguing new work choreographed by Troy Schumacher, a member of the corps de ballet for New York City Ballet.
- Complexions Contemporary Ballet, known for its aesthetically dynamic multicultural style, premiering a piece choreographed by Marcelo Gomes with an original score by Ian Ng.
- Nick Kenkel, a gifted Broadway veteran-turned-choreographer and director, premiering an energetic, Afropop-infused group number.
- Sara Mearns, principal dancer for New York City Ballet, starring with eight male dancers in a new work created by Emmy Award-winning choreographer Josh Bergasse.
- MOMIX, the consistently inventive dance company, presenting the visually stunning "Man Fan," a male solo using a 22-foot-tall fan in a duet with the wind.
- N' Lei Hulu I Ka W'kiu, a San Francisco-based company sharing the cultural richness of Hawaii through hula dance, featuring a male trio with innovative hula choreographer Patrick Makuak?ne.
- Desmond Richardson, a dance legend who performed at the 1st Fire Island Dance Festival, showcasing his keen grasp of musical phrasing and unmatched technique in Moonlight.
At the Leadership Event on Friday, July 18, Mark Stuart Dance Theatre will perform excerpts from its Broadway-bound dance musical STANDARD TIME. A celebration of love's power to defy social barriers, STANDARD TIME features hits from the 1930s, 1960s and 2000s performed by 14 dancers, four vocalists and a six-piece band. Leadership Supporters enjoy an enhanced festival experience, including the Leadership Event with cocktails on Friday, priority seating and prominent recognition in the harbor and throughout the Pines.
The celebration continues with three Fire Island Dance Festival performances: the opening performance on Saturday, July 19, at 5 pm (open bar starting at 4 pm); sunset performance on Saturday, July 19, at 7 pm (open bar following); and closing performance on Sunday, July 20, at 5 pm (open bar following).
Leadership Supporter tickets start at $325. Individual tickets for the 5 pm performances are $125. Tickets are available for each of the 5 pmperformances. The sunset performance is sold out. Tickets are on sale now at dradance.org, by phone at 212.840.0770, ext. 268, or in person in the Fire Island Pines harbor on weekends 10 am - 1 pm.
Dancers Responding to AIDS, founded in 1991 by former Paul Taylor Dance Company members Denise Roberts Hurlin and Hernando Cortez, relies on the extraordinary compassion and efforts of the performing arts community to fund a safety net of social services for those in need. As a program of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, DRA supports more than 450 AIDS and family service organizations nationwide as well as the essential programs of The Actors Fund, including the HIV/AIDS Initiative and The Dancers' Resource.
For more information, visit Dancers Responding to AIDS at dradance.org, on Facebook at facebook.com/DRAdance, on Twitter at twitter.com/DRAdance, on YouTube at youtube.com/DRAdance and on Instagram at instagram.com/DRAdance.