Preview: Dance Against Cancer
Lincoln Center: Damrosch Park
June 21, 2021

Jerry Hochman

You’ve heard of it. That NYC-based one-shot Dance Against Cancer program that features well-known dancers from a variety of companies and venues joining to benefit the American Cancer Society: the one that was sold out before you even found out about it, or was too pricey – albeit for a good cause – to afford? Yes – that one. Well, it’s back. And this time, there’s no excuse.

In light of the gradual lifting of Covid restrictions in New York, this year’s program, titled “Dance Against Cancer Outside,” will take place at Lincoln Center’s Damrosch Park on June 21 at 7:30 p.m. EDT (rain date is June 28; same time), and it’s accessible to anyone with an internet connection for a relatively small donation.

Daniel Ulbricht,
here in a 2019 performance
of George Balanchine’s
“Variations Pour Une Porte
et Un Soupir”
Photo by Erin Baiano

Founded by two dancers who both lost a parent to Cancer, over the last 11 years New York City Ballet Principal Daniel Ulbricht and Erin Fogarty have raised $2.1 million dollars for cancer research and patient support services in partnership with the American Cancer Society through annual dance performances. With donated performances by leading dance stars from New York City Ballet, Alvin Ailey, American Ballet Theater, Broadway and more, each dancer involved has been personally impacted by cancer and despite being unemployed for the last year, will appear without receiving a performance fee. This year’s program will feature a special tribute to first responders medical heroes, educators, mentors and the heroes lost to this disease. The one-night-only benefit gala will be the largest ticketed in-person dance event to happen in NYC since the beginning of the pandemic.

This year, in addition to the usual stellar array of dancers detailed below and a bevy of world premieres, there are some bonuses: cancer survivor and former Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre dancer Kevin Boseman will perform in a dance tribute to his late brother Chadwick Boseman; Nev Schulman (of MTV, and a standout – make that danceout – contestant on last season’s Dancing With the Stars), who will be dancing with NYCB Principal Tiler Peck: and a performance by students from the National Dance Institute and the Boy’s and Girls’ Choir of Harlem Alumni Ensemble, many of whom are first responders and cancer survivors.

Tiler Peck
here in the “Fascinating Rhythm” solo
from George Balanchine’s “Who Cares”
at the 2018 YAGP Gala
Photo by VAM Productions

This year’s program will include some intriguing-sounding duets: In addition to her duet with Schulman, Peck will also dance with NYCB’s Roman Mejia; NYCB Principal Sara Mearns and Martha Graham Principal Lloyd Knight; American Ballet Theatre Principals Hee Seo and Thomas Forster; NYCB’s Miriam Miller and ABT Principal Devon Teuscher; and international ballroom duo Denys Drozdyuk & Antonina Skobina. The program also includes solo performances by Ulbricht, Ayodele Casel, and Ailey Associate Artistic Director Matthew Rushing, who officially retired from the stage in 2010. Additionally, Jacob Jonas The Company featuring Steve Hackman will take the stage after a cross-country trek from Santa Monica.

Tickets to attend this event live are $250 each. But this year, streaming tickets will also be available in the following price ranges: $15 for students, $40 for general admission, and $100 for VIP. The VIP ticket includes an event poster signed by the cast, for the first 50 donors. Ticket purchases / donations can be made at (where one can also obtain additional information about the program) or by texting DACNY to 44321.