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Thursday, 06 August 2015 09:42

Team Dance Museum Wants You!

Seeking Support as they Train for Triathlon to Benefit LLS

 

SARATOGA SPRINGS – Their efforts are not for the faint of heart, and yet the cause it benefits could not be more worthy. 

 

A group of co-workers and friends of the National Museum of Dance (NMD) have come together to give back to the community, and they are requesting your support. They have formed a group called “Team Dance Museum.” The team’s mission is to raise funds by competing in endurance events to benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s (LLS) blood cancer research programs.

 

The Team Dance Museum members are:

- Exhibitions Coordinator and Designer Laura DiRado, 

- Programming and Outreach Coordinator Jessica Munson, 

- NMD Board Member John Witt, 

- Museum Member Tony Mariotti,   

- NMD Director Raul Martinez. 

 

The team is accepting pledges and donations, and is currently actively in training to compete in the Lake George Triathlon on September 5. This Olympic distance event will have three components. They will swim for 0.9 miles, then bicycle for 24.8 miles, and then run 6.2 miles! 

 

As courageous as Team Dance Museum’s efforts are, they are mindful that it pales in comparison to the Olympian courage a patient undergoing chemotherapy exhibits. All the members of Team Dance Museum made note of examples where their family or close friends were afflicted with cancer as their motivation for participating. 

 

For instance, DiRado spoke about the daughter of family friend, whose parents ran in four marathons in support of cancer research. For Witt, it was a good friend’s son who was diagnosed early. Martinez spoke about his grandfather who died of cancer. They cited losses, but also stories of bravery and survival they encountered. Indeed, it is a rare family these days where the impact of cancer has not been felt in some form. While LLS has made tremendous progress in the fight against blood cancer, much remains to be done.

 

So Team Dance Museum is training for more than just crossing a finish line in a race, grueling though it may be. Their efforts and those of others like them contribute to a greater mission – benefiting society at large to cross the finish line in the fight against this insidious disease. 

 

To that end, a fundraiser to support Team Dance Museum’s triathlon participation has been organized and will take place at NMD (99 South Broadway, Saratoga Springs) on Thursday, August 20 at 6:30 p.m. Named “TriDance to Fight Cancer,” the event will feature a Latin dance lesson and demonstration by Tango Fusion Dance Company Directors Diane Lachtrupp Martinez and Johnny Martinez. The lesson is geared toward all levels of experience and no partner is needed. Spring Street Deli and Lily and the Rose will provide food and drink. 

 

The donation to attend the August 20 event is $100. Tickets may be purchased by calling (518) 584-2225 ext. 3001 or via a paypal link on the event’s Facebook page: facebook.com/events/280321938809482.

 

You may also support the team in training in other ways. Should you be unable to attend on August 20, pledges in any amount are welcome and can be made on Team Dance Museum’s LLS Fundraising page: pages.teamintraining.org/uny/lkgrgtri15/TeamDanceMuseum

 

By supporting Team Dance Museum’s efforts, we all take a few lively steps closer to the finish line of a cancer free world. 

Published in News

- John Travolta To Receive Lifetime Achievement Award

SARATOGA SPRINGS— Attention dance and pop culture enthusiasts: Mark down August 9 on your calendar, as the National Museum of Dance (NMD) will have it’s own version of “Saturday Night Fever.”

 

Saratoga TODAY has learned that at NMD’s August 9 Gala, legendary dance/actor/singer Gene Kelly and former New York City Ballet Principal Dancer/Choreographer Jacques d'Amboise will be enshrined in the NMD Hall of Fame.

 

Also, John Travolta, whose iconic performance in Saturday Night Fever pushed the dance and cultural phenomenon of Disco to the forefront, will be the recipient of the Museum’s Lifetime Achievement Award. 

 

Ms. Michele Riggi, President of the Museum’s Board of Directors, also stated that the August 9 Gala will mark the grand opening of a special facility at the Museum— The Mr. and Mrs. Ronald A. Riggi Theater. This will be a 48-seat film screening theater, but will provide the additional community asset of serving as a “black box” theater for live performances as it will be equipped with a stage.

 

“The foundation laid out by our founders (Mr. and Mrs. Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney and Mr. Lewis A. Swyer) gave us a great platform to grow upon,” Ms. Riggi said. “In my nine years as Board President, I’ve been fortunate to help elevate and broaden our program offerings.” 

 

But the Museum’s robust financial health during Ms. Riggi’s tenure, through our economy’s uncertain economic times is a remarkable achievement. “We’ve gone from $5,000 in our bank account to over a million,” Michele Riggi noted. 

 

She shared the nominating and election processes for the Museum’s Hall of Fame Induction and Lifetime Achievement awards, which are different. “For The Hall of Fame, we have a nominating committee of about 50 dancers, educators and others in the discipline. A preliminary list of several is generated and this is discussed for about six month among the committee members.” Ms. Riggi notes. “Eventually the Board of Directors receives a list of six nominees, and votes on the eventual winner(s).” 

 

For the Lifetime Achievement Award: “This is initiated by the Board and the President. We are looking for a person who has had a broad impact on popular culture, which includes dance but includes much more.” She said.

 

At press time, Michele Riggi could confirm that Patricia Ward Kelly, Gene Kelly’s widow will be in attendance at the NMD Gala, and will also be delivering a presentation about Gene Kelly’s life and times the following day at Skidmore’s Janet Kinghorn Bernhard Center.

 

As for an appearance by John Travolta?

 

“We’re trying.” Ms. Riggi said. 

 

So that may or may not happen. But if history tells us anything, in the long run it’s a losing proposition to bet against anything Michele Riggi is “trying” to do.

Published in News

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