Chita Rivera to Receive Victory Dance Project's Woman of Valour Award
Tony nominee Karine Plantadit will present Victory Dance Project's "Woman of Valour Award" to Broadway legend Chita Rivera, on Thursday, June 15 at 7:30pm at the opening celebration of the company's third season, at Manhattan Movement & Arts Center (MMAC), 248 W. 60th Street. The award honors a woman whose artistic excellence, advocacy and legacy represents the highest level of integrity and artistic vision.
Victory Dance Project was founded in 2014 Amy Jordan, five years after a horrific bus accident almost took her life. That day, she resolved that if she survived, she would do a "victory dance" to celebrate, and launched VDP Project with the mission to "Make the Impossible Possible with the Power of Movement. She is an embodiment of that motto: At the Opening Night Celebration, Amy will return to the stage for the first time since her accident, dancing in a new work choreographed by Christopher Jackson. In appreciation, she is dedicating the performance to the incredible doctors at the NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital Burn Unit, who she credits with saving her life.
Victory Dance Project's season will run for three performances, June 15 - 18 (no performance on June 16). On June 17 and 18 the program will include special performances by students from Early Mosley's Diversity of Dance company.
Chita Rivera has won two Tony Awards as Best Leading Actress in a Musical and received eight additional nominations for an exceptional 10 Tony nominations, most recently for her starring role in The Visit. She starred in the Broadway revival of The Mystery of Edwin Drood; the Broadway and touring productions of The Dancer's Life, a new musical celebrating her spectacular career; and the revival of the Broadway musical Nine with Antonio Banderas. She trained as a ballerina (from age 11) before receiving a scholarship to the School of American Ballet from legendary George Balanchine. Her electric performance as Anita in the original West Side Story on Broadway and in London brought her stardom, and her career is highlighted by starring roles in Bye Bye Birdie, The Rink (Tony Award), Chicago, Jerry's Girls, Kiss of the Spider Woman (Tony Award). Chita was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Obama in 2009, and received a coveted Kennedy Center Honor in 2002, the first Hispanic woman chosen to receive this award. In 2016 she headlined at Carnegie Hall and in 2015, PBS's "Great Performances" aired Chita Rivera: A Lot of Livin' To Do, a retrospective of her extraordinary life and career. Chita's current solo CD is entitled And Now I Swing.
Karine Plantadit is a Tony Award-nominated dancer and actress. She was a soloist with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater for 7 years and has since appeared in numerous Broadway shows including the original Lion King and Movin' Out. Recently she has starred in Twyla Tharpe's Come Fly Away and the one-woman show La Voix.
Amy Jordan's training and career spans three decades of study and performances in New York, Los Angeles and Miami. She has studied classical ballet, jazz, modern dance and hip-hop with acclaimed choreographers Michael Peters, Michael Rooney, Joe Lanteri and many others. A diabetic since age 4, she overcame serious health issues and complications from juvenile diabetes. She became active in the diabetes prevention community and started the non-profit Sweet Enuff, to help obese kids deal with their diabetes through dance and exercise. It was a national top finalist for First Lady Michelle Obama's "End Childhood Obesity Challenge." Following an almost fatal bus accident in 2009, which crushed her leg and ended her career as a dancer, Amy founded The Victory Dance Project to prove that" The impossible is possible through the power of movement." Visit amyjordaninc.com for more.
Victory Dance Project company members include Christopher Jackson (Associate Director), Gary Lewis, William Briscoe, Karen Nicely, Martell Ruffin, and Aika Takeshima. For a full company roster and bios, visit victorydance.org. Company members have performed with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Ailey 11, Complexions Contemporary Ballet, Dance Theatre of Harlem, School of American Ballet, Philadanco, Ballet Hispánico, Shen Wei Arts, The Julliard School, Cirque du Soleil, 'So You Think You Can Dance', and many Broadway musicals.
Victory Dance Project embodies the ideals of transforming adversity into victory,?living a healthy lifestyle through dance fitness, and using dance performance as a tool to inspire and encourage people's hearts and minds. Amy Jordan encourages everyone to 'Dance Because You Can.'
Victory Dance Project's 2017 season will play three performances: June 15 and June 17 at 7:30 pm; and June 18 at 3 pm (no performance on June 16) at Manhattan Movement & Arts Center (MMAC), 248 W. 60th Street. Tickets for the Saturday and Sunday performances are $40 if purchased in advance, or $50 at the door. The opening night tickets are $65 for performance only or $150, which includes a post-show Anniversary Celebration. Tickets can be purchased at ticketfly.com or by calling 877-987-6487. For further information, visit victorydance.org.
Photo Credit: Laura Marie Duncan