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Fire Island Dance Festival Presents First Virtual Event Ever This Friday

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The Virtual Fire Island Dance Festival, this year's streamed edition of the beloved annual world-class dance event, is set to feature three world premiere pieces and three festival favorites. The festival streams at 7 pm Eastern on Friday, July 17, 2020, and is produced by and benefits Dancers Responding to AIDS, a program of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. Advance registration is required for the free stream. Please Sign up at

The choreographers presenting world premiere pieces are:

● Celebrated modern tap dancer Ayodele Casel performing Oscar Joy. This effervescent and virtuosic solo will be performed by Casel from her home dance studio, Original Tap House in the Bronx.

● KEIGWIN + COMPANY artistic director Larry Kiegwin sharing When the Sun Comes Out. The piece, performed socially distanced across Fire Island, features dancers Jovan Dansberry, Yukiko Kashiki, Christopher Mai, Jerry Mitchell, Ricky Schroeder and Vernon Scott, longtime Fire Island Dance Festival supporters Hal Hayes, Nicole LaFountaine, Matthew Markoff, Eng Kian Ooi, Norman Simon and Kendra Verderosa, and Dancers Responding to AIDS staff members Adam Rei Siegel and Beau Speer, set to music performed by Fire Island singer Seth Sikes.

Stephen Petronio Company artistic director Stephen Petronio presenting Are You Lonesome Tonight. The piece, filmed at his private Petronio Residency Center in Round Top, NY, features Lloyd Knight, guest artist from Martha Graham Dance Company, and Stephen Petronio Company member Nicholas Sciscione.

The returning festival favorites are:

● An excerpt from An Untitled Love, created by MacArthur "Genius" Grant fellow and artistic director of A.I.M Kyle Abraham. The newest evening-length work in progress, performed by American Ballet Theatre soloist Calvin Royal III and A.I.M dancer Tamisha Guy, rhythmically explores culture, family and community.

● Emmy Award nominee Al Blackstone's Weekend '76. The group number, set to disco hits, celebrates Fire Island as an inclusive enclave for the LGBTQ community.

● Acclaimed dancer and choreographer Garrett Smith's elegant and ethereal Continuum. The piece is performed by Pacific Northwest Ballet corps de ballet member Christopher D'Ariano and principal dancer Lucien Postlewaite.

Donations made until Monday, July 20, 2020, at 11 pm Eastern will be matched dollar-for-dollar up to $25,000 by DIRECTV. The festival stream will be available until 11 pm Eastern on Monday, July 20, 2020. The presenting sponsors of the Virtual Fire Island Dance Festival are Paul Austin & Dalip Girdhar.

The in-person event, traditionally held in July, has raised more than $6.7 million since the festival began in 1995. Through their support, Fire Island Dance Festival attendees have helped ensure that those living with HIV/AIDS, COVID-19 and other critical illnesses in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C., receive lifesaving medications, nutritious meals, counseling and emergency financial assistance. The generosity also supports organizations working toward social justice and anti-racism.

Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS also continues its support of the Pines Care Center with an annual grant of $25,000, helping to provide a wide range of medical-related services to the residents and visitors of the Fire Island Pines and neighboring communities.

Dancers Responding to AIDS 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 the essential programs of The Actors Fund, including the HIV/AIDS Initiative and The Dancers' Resource, as well as more than 450 AIDS and family service organizations nationwide.

For more information, please visit Dancers Responding to AIDS at, at, at, at and at

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