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Gibney Dance Celebrates 15 Years of Community Action, Honors Martha Worthing @ June 1 Benefit

Gibney Dance Celebrates 15 Years of Community Action, Honors Martha Worthing @ June 1 Benefit


Gibney Dance


Gibney Dance: Agnes Varis Performing Arts Center, 280 Broadway, NYC


Monday, June 1, 2015 - 6:30pm



Gibney Dance

Photo credit: Julieta Cervantes

New York, NY, May 14, 2015—On June 1, performance and social action nonprofit Gibney Dance will celebrate the 15th anniversary of its Community Action Program, the first program of its kind in the U.S. to unite domestic violence survivors with professional dancers, at the organization’s annual Spring Benefit taking place at Gibney Dance: Agnes Varis Performing Arts Center at 280 Broadway. The event will honor Marcia Worthing, Gibney Dance board member and social action advocate, and feature a special performance by a survivor of domestic violence who has participated in the Community Action Program as well as a performance by Gibney Dance Company, an installation by visualist and software designer Joshue Ott/superDraw, an exhibition of photographs by dance photographer Julieta Cervantes and live music by performance artists Eleanor Dubinsky, Bashiri Johnson, Mark E. Peterson and Frank Ponzio. Also featured will be a silent auction and raffle, with funds raised supporting Gibney Dance’s programs in dance and social justice. Event co-chairs are Lynn Gitlitz and Chris Foster; see below for full event details.

Founded in 2000 in collaboration with two of the country’s most prominent domestic violence organizations, Sanctuary for Families and Safe Horizon, Community Action’s cornerstone program offers dancer-led movement workshops to survivors of domestic violence. These workshops are designed in collaboration with clinical experts to give survivors the tools they need to develop self-sufficiency. In each workshop, Gibney Dance Company members share activities that draw from their artistic practices to address issues of choice, self-care and self-expression. Today, Community Action is regarded as a model in the field and provides over 500 free movement workshops at shelters each year. At its 15th anniversary, Gibney Dance Community Action has reached over 50,000 women and children around the globe.

Gibney Dance Spring Benefit
Celebrating 15 Years of Community Action
Monday, June 1, 6:30–9:30 p.m.
Gibney Dance: Agnes Varis Performing Arts Center
280 Broadway

Gibney Dance’s Spring Benefit celebrates a pivotal moment: 15 years of the organization’s Community Action Program. The evening will honor Gibney Dance board member Marcia Worthing and her work as a social action advocate, and feature performances by Gibney Dance Company and a past Community Action participant performing her work Here to Tell: One woman’s story of moving from struggle to survival.
Guests will have the opportunity to bid on items during the evening-long silent auction and partake in a raffle. The evening will also feature an interactive installation by visualist and software designer Joshue Ott/superDraw, an exhibition of photographs by dance photographer Julieta Cervantes and live music by performance artists Eleanor Dubinsky (vocals), Bashiri Johnson (percussion), Mark E. Peterson (bass), and Frank Ponzio (keyboard).

Funds raised will support Gibney Dance’s mission to bring the power of dance where it otherwise would not exist. Event co-chairs are Lynn Gitliz and Chris Foster. To purchase tickets, please visit: gibneydance.org/spring-benefit

Honoree Marcia Worthing is a life-long social advocate. From 1999 to 2007, Marcia served as executive vice president of Mullin Associates/Lincolnshire International, where she worked with executive women who were in the midst of career change. Prior to joining Mullin, she spent 27 years at Avon in domestic and global Human Resources. In her last assignment, she was Senior Vice President of Human Resources and Corporate Affairs. In this role, she was deeply involved in Avon’s effort to move women into leadership positions around the world. After spending most of her career at Avon Products and in executive coaching, Marcia changed direction in 2007 to pursue a Masters Degree in Social Work from Columbia University, which she completed in 2009. While at Columbia, she was involved in organizing a support and advocacy group for older students. She co-authored the books Balancing Acts! Juggling Love, Work, Family & Recreation and Escape the Mid-Career Doldrums: What to Do Next When You’re Bored, Burned Out, Retired, or Fired. Marcia currently serves on two not-for-profit boards, The Institute for Women’s Policy Research and Gibney Dance, and participates in numerous other special projects. Throughout Marcia’s tenure at Gibney Dance, she has been a dedicated supporter and champion of Community Action.

The mission of Gibney Dance is to bring the possibility of movement to where it otherwise would not exist. Through three interrelated fields of action—Center, Company and Community Action—Gibney Dance is “Making Space for Dance,” whether in the studio, on stage or in underserved shelters and schools.

Gibney Dance Company was founded in 1991 and has developed an extensive repertory of evening-length works that have been performed throughout the U.S. and abroad. Called “a poet of modern dance” by The New York Times, choreographer Gina Gibney is known for using dynamic, weighed movement and partnering to craft interpersonal dynamics between the dancers. These carefully calibrated relationships reflect the dancers’ experiences as community activists. As observed by writer Deborah Jowitt: “(t)hat Gibney’s troupe has long worked for the empowerment of battered women is reflected in the dancers’ struggles, their uncommon resilience, the support one readily offers another.” From 1997 until 2007, the Company engaged only female dancers, a decision resulting from the fact that women in professional dance were losing artistic and financial ground throughout the 1990s. Since 2007, due to shifts both within the Company and in the culture at large, Gibney has explored the artistry of both male and female dancers. The Company most recently premiered Dividing Line at Florence Gould Hall in November 2013 and is currently in process on a new work. It is the resident company of Gibney Dance Center.

Gibney Dance Community Action was founded in 2000 in collaboration with Sanctuary for Families and Safe Horizon, two of the most prominent domestic violence organizations in the country. It is a social action program that unites survivors of domestic violence—who often struggle with issues of self-determination—with professional dancers, who through years of professional training have learned to control their physical environment with confidence. Annually, the program provides New York City domestic violence shelters with over 500 free movement workshops, in which Company members share activities that draw from artistic practices to address issues of choice and self-expression. To date, the program has reached over 50,000 women and children and has expanded to reach youth-at-risk and people living with HIV/AIDS through new partnerships with the Gay and Lesbian Anti-Violence Project; Barrier Free Living, a shelter for disabled survivors; and Day One, the only organization in New York City devoted to the issue of teen dating violence. Community Action is widely regarded as a model in the field, and its methods are disseminated through Global Community Action Residencies on-site training residencies; the Institute for Community Action Training, an annual one-week training intensive at Gibney Dance Center; and the Community Action Center, a research and work space and community library at Gibney Dance Center’s 280 Broadway location.

Gibney Dance Center is a powerhouse of cultural support for the performing arts community and the City itself. The Center originated in 1991 when Gibney Dance began leasing a studio in the historic 890 Broadway building to house Company rehearsals. It has since grown into a performing arts complex in two locations: Gibney Dance Choreographic Center at 890 Broadway and Gibney Dance: Agnes Varis Performing Arts Center at 280 Broadway. The Center houses three theaters for performing arts presentations; 16 studios for classes and rehearsals; two “labs” for work with technological and production elements; a visual arts gallery; a Digital Technology Workroom for work with video, audio, and online media; a Learning and Leadership Collaborative for professional development programming; and a Community Action Hub for social action workshops and a library on the use of the performing arts to effect social change. These remarkable spaces enable a robust roster of events designed to meet the needs of the dance field by fostering the creative process, encouraging dialogue, and providing professional development opportunities.


Gibney Dance Foundation Support
The Agnes Varis Trust, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Arnhold Foundation, Booth Ferris Foundation, Bossak/Heilbron Charitable Foundation, The David Rockefeller Fund, Dextra Baldwin McGonagle Foundation, Engaging Dance Audiences administered by Dance/USA and made possible with generous funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Emma A. Sheafer Charitable Trust, The Gramercy Park Foundation, The Harkness Foundation for Dance, The Howard Gilman Foundation, The Hyde and Watson Foundation, The Jerome Robbins Foundation, Jewish Communal Fund, Joseph & Joan Cullman Foundation for the Arts, Macy’s, Mertz Gilmore Foundation, Morgan Stanley, New Music USA: Creative Connections, The New York Community Trust – Lila Acheson Wallace Theater Fund, The New York Community Trust – LuEsther T. Mertz Advised Fund, NYC Dance Response Fund, a program of Dance/NYC established by the Mertz Gilmore Foundation, New York University Community Fund, O’Donnell-Green Music and Dance Foundation, and The Patrina Foundation. Gibney Dance receives additional support through the matching gift programs of Macy’s, The Moody’s Foundation, Morgan Stanley and The Open Society Foundations. Gibney Dance has received gracious encouragement from Eliot Feld’s Ballet Tech.
Gibney Dance Corporate Support American Australian Association, Bloomingdale’s, Credit Suisse, EILEEN FISHER, Estée Lauder Companies, Goldman Sachs, Kennedy Berg LLP, Kirkland & Ellis LLP, Macy’s Merchandising Group, Morgan Stanley, Polisan Home Cosmetics, Wyndham Worldwide Corporation, and Yentus & Booher.

Gibney Dance Government Support
Gibney Dance has received generous support from The City of New York & The Honorable Mayor Bill De Blasio, The New York City Council & The Honorable Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, The Honorable City Council Member Margaret Chin, The Honorable Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, The New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and The Honorable Tom Finkelpearl, Materials for the Arts, the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, and the National Endowment for the Arts.


For more information, please contact Chris Schimpf or Carla Sacks at Sacks & Co., 212.741.1000, chris.schimpf@sacksco.com or carla@sacksco.com.

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