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Celebrating the Life and Legacy of John Lennon, National Dance Institute's 32nd Annual Gala
04/30/2009 - By NOKIA Theatre in Times Square

Celebrating the Life and Legacy of John Lennon, National Dance Institute's 32nd Annual Gala

On April 30, 2009, 400 National Dance Institute (NDI) friends and supporters gathered at the NOKIA Theatre in Times Square for Celebrating the Life and Legacy of John Lennon, NDI's 32nd Annual Gala..

The evening, emceed by Terrence Mann, honored Yoko Ono as the 2009 Global Health & Hope Award Honoree, Bernadette Peters as the 2009 Artistic Honoree and Arnold Penner as Mascot of the Year. NDI's Board Chairperson, Margaret Cuomo Maier, M.D., welcomed the guests to the Gala. NDI's Founder Jacques d'Amboise presented the awards to Bernadette Peters and Arnold Penner, while Yoko Ono accepted her award via video message. The evening raised $1 million to benefit NDI's programs.

The Gala starred young dancers in NDI's advanced programs, drawn from 30 New York City partner public schools, where they have been engaged in a year-long exploration of John Lennon. Directed by Ellen Weinstein, NDI's Artistic Director, and featuring professional musicians and singers, this year's Gala celebrated the magic of Lennon's iconic music and paid tribute to his memory and global impact. NDI children performed "Beatlemania," "A Day in the Life," "Here Comes the Sun," "Can't Buy Me Love" and "Imagine" as a preview to their 2009 Event of the Year to be held June 20-22, 2009. Terrence Mann sang "In My Life" and read the poem "Make Your Heart Dance," dedicated to NDI's dancers by Yoko Ono.

The Honorary Gala Chairs were Susan & Donald Newhouse and Madaleine Berley & Arnold S. Penner. Gala Chairs were Lauren B. Cramer & Demetrius Fexy, Margaret Cuomo Maier, M.D. & Howard Maier, Lynn & Carl Goldstein, Jaynne C. Keyes & Michael del Giudice, Kathy & Joe Mele, Rosario Perez, Linda Singer & Louis Klein, Jr. and Helen Stambler Neuberger & Jim Neuberger.

National Dance Institute is a not-for-profit organization founded in the belief that the arts have a unique power to engage children and motivate them towards excellence. Using professional artists and a distinctive combination of dance classes and performances integrated with music, literature and the visual arts, children learn how to work together to reach for their personal best. Over 2 million children have participated in NDI programs. NDI was founded in 1976 by Jacques d'Amboise, and since 1995 has been under the artistic leadership of Ellen Weinstein. For more information, please log on to www.nationaldance.org.

Photos: Eduardo Patino

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