Mark DeGarmo Dance Honors Miss America 2019, April 17
Mark DeGarmo Dance honors Miss America 2019, Nia Imani Franklin, with its inaugural Arts Education Advocate Award 2019 at its annual fundraising gala Dance for Dance on Wednesday, April 17th. Ticket sales benefit MDD's programs and mission. Ms. Franklin is a classically-trained vocalist, who received a master's degree in composition from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts in 2017. During the Miss America competition, Franklin used her life as an example of why the arts matter. "I grew up at a predominately Caucasian school and there was only [a] five percent minority, and I felt out of place so much because of the color of my skin....But growing up, I found my love of arts, and through music that helped me to feel positive about myself and about who I was." She was a 2017 William R. Kenan, Jr. Fellow at Lincoln Center Education and is a classically trained opera singer who will perform at the event. Festivities include a performance by MDD students, drinks, hors d'oeuvres, a silent auction, and more. MC Nat Towsen is a standup comedian, writer, and actor from the Lower East Side, called a "comedic genius" by Time Out NY, and a "bright young man" by Bill Gates
Prior to offering its Arts Advocacy Award, MDD awarded the annual "Educational Visionary Lifetime Achievement Award," to dancer, dance teacher, and choreographer Patricia Aulestia (2017), dance writer Deborah Jowitt (2016), ballet legends and founders of The Briansky Ballet Center Oleg Briansky and Mireille Briane (2015); actress/writer/director, and co-founder of The Living Theatre Judith Malina (2014); and educational theorist and social activist Maxine Greene (2013).
About Mark DeGarmo Dance
Mark DeGarmo Dance (MDD) is a leading 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that educates underserved New York City communities and children; creates, performs and disseminates original artistic and scholarly work; and promotes intercultural community through dance arts. Founded in 1987 by dancer and scholar Mark DeGarmo, MDD provides high quality, interdisciplinary dance arts and creative writing programming for New York City public elementary school students who live in economically challenged and disenfranchised communities. "Partnerships in Literacy through Dance and Creativity©" is MDD's "evidence-based" 7-year interdisciplinary program that empowers elementary students to use dance, movement and creative writing as lifelong tools to fulfill their highest potential. New York press and audiences have heralded MDD's dance-theater works as "brilliant" and "risk-taking" and DeGarmo as "a gladiator in various arenas." Hailed as "a national model" by the National Endowment for the Arts, MDD was recognized by President Barack Obama for its commitment to New York City communities and the nation.
About Mark DeGarmo
Founder, Executive and Artistic Director Mark DeGarmo, Ph.D. is an award-winning, internationally recognized choreographer, performer, and educator with a passion for intercultural community-building. Over the past 30 years, DeGarmo has produced over 100 dances and 30 international tours promoting cultural diplomacy and exchange in 12 countries across Latin America, Europe and Russia.