Brianskys to receive award Nov.13 at Clemente Center
Mark DeGarmo Dance
OLEG BRIANSKY and MIREILLE BRIANE
to receive the 2015 “Educational Visionary” Lifetime Achievement Award
from Mark DeGarmo Dance at DANCE for DANCE
Friday November 13, 7 to 11 PM
Flamboyán Theater at The Clemente Center, 107 Suffolk Street
Tickets start at $100
Ballet luminaries OLEG BRIANSKY and MIREILLE BRIANE will receive the 2015 "Educational Visionary" Lifetime Achievement Award, as "visionaries who have promoted innovation in education through the arts." Partners in life and dance for over 50 years, Briansky and Briane are being honored for their distinguished careers as dancers and choreographers, as well as for their exemplary role as founders and teachers at The Briansky Ballet Center for over 45 years. Presenter will be Lori Klinger, Artistic and Executive Director of Rosie's Theater Kids, and host is comedian Nat Towsen, standup comedian and host of Nat Towsen's Downtown Variety Hour. The evening includes hors d'oeuvres and drinks, a silent auction of glamorous goods including gift certificates, dinners and vacations, and dancing to a hip DJ.
The "Educational Visionary" award is presented annually by Mark DeGarmo Dance (MDD). Initiated eight years ago, the fundraising event benefits the company's educational programs which, since 1987, have provided arts education intervention programs in some of the most challenged PreK-5 schools on the Lower East Side of Manhattan and in Far Rockaway, Queens. Mark DeGarmo Dance now serves over 1,500 multicultural students and 200 teachers in five Title 1 schools, in which the majority of the students live under the federal poverty line.
Past recipients of the "Educational Visionary" Lifetime Achievement Awards have been Judith Malina, Film Actress, Writer, Director and Co-Founder of The Living Theatre, presented in 2014 by Olympia Dukakis; and Maxine Greene, Educational Theorist, presented in 2013 by Mark DeGarmo PhD, Founder, Executive & Artistic Director.
The distinguished Honorary Committee this year includes Stella Abrera and Julie Kent, principal dancers with American Ballet Theatre; beloved Sesame Street actor and writer Sonia Manzano; Broadway stars Ann Reinking and Tommy Tune; celebrated choreographer Lynne Taylor-Corbett; and legendary ballerina Violette Verdy. Elected officials on the Honorary Committee include State Senator Charles E. Schumer, NYC Comptroller Scott M. Stringer, and ten NYC Council Members. Mayor de Blasio will be represented by his written endorsement, which will be read at the event.
Support for MDD's programs comes from Leslie & Daniel Ziff, the Harman Family Foundation, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in Partnership with the City Council, amongst others.
Oleg Briansky and Mireille Briane met during their early careers and became a formidable dancing duo. Both were distinguished ballet dancers; Ms. Briane became a Principal Dancer – at age 16 – at the Grand Theatre of Bordeaux, France, and enjoyed an extensive international dancing career. Mr. Briansky danced with Ballets de Paris, London Festival Ballet, New York Metropolitan Opera Ballet, and many others. After his rising career as world-renowned premier danseur was cut short by arthritis, the couple went on to achieve great success in the USA as teachers, directors and choreographers.
Ms. Briane led her own ballet school in London and also taught at the School of American Ballet, Alvin Ailey Dance Center, Dance Theatre of Harlem, and Ballet de Rio de Janeiro. Mr. Briansky also taught at these and other international dance companies in the USA, UK, France, Italy and Korea, and from 1990-1991 he was associate director of the Universal Ballet Academy in Washington, D.C.
He has also translated two classic Russian ballet books and served as the Artistic Director of “The Children of Theatre Street,” an Academy Award-nominated documentary about the Vaganova Choreographic Institute in Leningrad. For his choreography he was awarded the prestigious Nijinsky Medal in 1995 and joined the jury of the Youth America Grand Prix Ballet Competition at its inception. He has served as Chair of the National Honorary Committee for the USA International Ballet Competition.
Together, Oleg and Mireille directed the Ballet Guild of the Lehigh Valley in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania from 1994 to 2006 when they received the Award for Individual Excellence in the Arts from the Bethlehem Fine Arts Commission. Over 45 years ago, the couple founded the Briansky Saratoga Ballet Center, a professionally-oriented summer dance program which continues to provide exceptional training for generations of ballet students at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts.
Pictured: A still photo from “Happy To Be So,” a documentary directed by Yelena Demikovsky that looks back over the 50-year partnership of Oleg Briansky and his wife, Mireille Briane.