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Deborah Jowitt to Recieve Educational Visionary Lifetime Achievement Award at DANCE for DANCE

Mark DeGarmo Dance will honor dance writer Deborah Jowitt with the 2016 "Educational Visionary" Lifetime Achievement Award to celebrate her many accomplishments. Ms. Jowitt danced with notable names such as José Limon and Anna Sokolow, choreographed works shown in venues in both the United States and overseas, published articles in The New York Times, The Village Voice and Dance Magazine, among others, and has lectured, taught and conducted workshops at universities in the U.S. and abroad.

The award is presented to "visionaries who have promoted innovation in education through the arts." Fellow dance writer, dancer and choreographer, Gus Solomons, jr.,will present Ms. Jowitt's award and comedian Nat Towsen, host of Nat Towsen's Downtown Variety Hour, will serve as Master of Ceremonies throughout the evening. New York's "Dance Party of the Year" includes hors d'oeuvres, drinks, a performance by our students, a dance lesson from our teaching artists and a silent auction featuring gift certificates, dinners, vacations, and more.

The 2016 "Educational Visionary" Award is the fourth annual honoring of dance, theater, and educational legends and luminaries by Mark DeGarmo Dance (MDD). Launched nine years ago, Dance for Dance is a fundraising event that raises critical awareness and financial support for the company's educational programs. Since its founding in 1987, MDD has provided dance education and literacy programs where none would otherwise exist in some of New York City's most challenged Title 1 PreK-5 schools. Our schools are located in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, Far Rockaway, Queens, and as of this year, as we expand to four new partnership schools, the East Village and Hell's Kitchen in Manhattan and Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

Mark DeGarmo Dance serves over 1,500 multicultural students and 200 teachers in eight Title 1 schools and 20,000 people across all programs. Nearly 100% of our students live under the USA poverty line and 48% of students in two schools are homeless and living in foster care, the largest percentage of any public elementary school in the NYC Department of Education. Recent New York Times and WNYCexposés highlighted the inequitable plight of these NYC PreK-5 schools and the lack of basic funding for their educational supplies and programs, such as ours. MDD currently provides 99% of the funding for these in-school partnership programs while principals cite lack of funding for their own classroom teachers, as the rationale for the current paucity of rigorous arts education in their NYC public schools.

Past recipients of the "Educational Visionary" Lifetime Achievement Awards have been Oleg Briansky and Mireille Brianne, partners in life and dance and founders of The Briansky Ballet Center (2015), Judith Malina, film actress, writer, director and co-founder of The Living Theatre (2014), and educational theorist and social activist Maxine Greene (2013). All have contributed to the USA's arts and culture.

Our distinguished Honorary Committee this year so far includes Tina Croll, Sean Curran, Ann Reinking, Tommy Tune, Leslie Ziff and Elizabeth Zimmer. Elected officials on the Ex Officio Committee include U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer, U.S. Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer, three New York State senators, two New York State Assembly members and ten NYC Council members.

MDD's roster of competitive public and private support speaks to the rigor and sustainability of its 29-year history and the unique education program design of its "Partnerships in Literacy through Dance & Creativity ©," now in its 15th year. The National Endowment for the Arts called our interdisciplinary dance program "a national model." Johns Hopkins University School of Education is studying the academic effects of our PreK-5 school-based program and will publish its report in spring 2017.

MDD's funding partners include the Manhattan Borough President, National Endowment for the Arts (five awards since 2002), New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council (since 1994), and New York State Council on the Arts (since 1995) with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. Additional funding has come from Bay & Paul Foundations, Credit Suisse, Dana Foundation, Dizzy Feet Foundation, Friends of Mark DeGarmo Dance, Morgan Stanley, and Ziff Foundation, among over 200 government, foundation, and corporate sources.

Founder, Executive & Artistic Director Dr. Mark DeGarmo's Ph.D. dissertation examined the relationship between movement improvisation and nonverbal learning. Awards for his work include: American Cultural Specialist Award from the USA Department of State (Ecuador); Fulbright Senior Scholar Fellowship (Peru); Martha Hill Dance Fund's 2015 Mid-Career Award; National Finalist in Dance, Millennium Artist Program, an Official Project of the White House Millennium Council, supported by the National Endowment for the Arts (USA); and Sophie Gerson Healthy Youth Foundation's 2015 Recognition.

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