Preview: A Benefit for Ukraine

April 9, 2022
Florence Gould Hall
New York, New York

Jerry Hochman

The New York dance community will soon join other dance communities world-wide with an evening to raise funds for the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine. Presented by iHeartDance NYC, an arts initiative committed to using dance as a vehicle to make positive change in the community and around the world, the event will bring together luminaries from American Ballet Theatre, New York City Ballet, Ballroom, Broadway and abroad performing a program of work by equally noteworthy choreographers. The program, on Saturday evening, April 9, is being conducted with the guidance of the current Ukraine administration to assure that funds are delivered to those who need it most.

Adrian Blake Mitchell and Andrea Laššáková
in Oleg Vinogradov’s “Barber’s Adagio”
Photo courtesy of iHeartDance NYC

The one night only program will include choreography by Christopher Wheeldon, Alexei Ratmansky, Justin Peck, Jerome Robbins, James Whiteside, Oleg Vinogradov, Andrea Miller, David Fernandez and others, performed by a cast that includes Isabella Boylston, Sara Mearns, Lauren Lovette, Brooklyn Mack, Unity Phelan, Tyler Angle, Christine Shevchenko, Devon Teuscher Corey Stearns, Indiana Woodward, Harrison Ball, Gilbert Bolden III, Adrian Blake Mitchell, Andrea Laššáková, Luciana Paris, Jonatan Lujan, Skye Mattox, Andrii Ishchuk, Antonina Skobina, Denys Drozdyuk, Rench Soriano, artists from GALLIM, the ABT Studio Company, and more to be announced. The program’s choreography is expected to include the dances referenced in the attached photographs, as well as Wheeldon’s This Bitter Earth, Peck’s Rodeo, and a world premiere choreographed by Whiteside. The evening will also include guest speakers, and opening remarks by Igor Novikov, former advisor to Ukraine President Zelensky.

Indiana Woodward in George Balanchine’s “Emeralds” from “Jewels”
Photo by Paul Kolnik

Founded by dance activists Melissa Gerstein and Kimberly Giannelli, iHeartDance NYC was originally created as an initiative to support artists and kickstart live performances in New York during the COVID-19 pandemic, producing seventeen sold out performances, employing over200 dancers and choreographers, raising significant funds, and welcoming live and virtual audiences across five countries. With COVID-19 cases declining and theaters reopened, the pair have continued their mission to use dance as a vehicle to make a significant impact in the community locally and globally.  Most recently, iHeartDance NYC partnered with Ballet and Beyond NYC to raise funds for increased access to dance education in low-income communities and is proud to mobilize the power of the dance community to raise funds for Ukraine during this time of crisis. “This evening of dance brings Ukrainian artists to the stage to tell their own stories, many who have not heard from their loved ones in several days, and other members of the dance community who stand behind them with love and support,” say Gerstein an Giannelli. “Let us witness once again the power of dance to unite, to act as activism, and to help those who need it most.”

Isabella Boylston and James Whiteside in Alexei Ratmansky’s “The Seasons”
Photo courtesy of iHeartDance NYC


A Benefit for Ukraine will take place on Saturday, April 9 at 7:00 p.m. at Florence Gould Hall, 55 East 59th Street, New York, NY 10022


Tickets to the iHeartDance NYC benefit performance are $150 and $300 (includes premium seating and post-performance meet and greet) and are available at