14th Annual Gala Honors Philanthropist and Patron of the Arts Wallis Annenberg –

Friday, November 7th in Beverly Hills


October 27, 2014 – LOS ANGELES, CA – On Friday, November 7th, 2014, The Debbie Allen Dance Academy (DADA) in association with the Berry Gordy Family Foundation, presents a spectacular evening of dance, in which some of the genre’s brightest stars will perform in tribute to one of the greatest visionaries and philanthropists of our time:  Wallis Annenberg.


Misty Copeland, prima ballerina for the American Ballet Theater; Desmond Richardson, soloist with the Alvin Ailey Dance Theatre, principle dancer with the American Ballet Theater and now founder of his own company, ComplexionsJason Samuel Smith, Emmy Award-winning choreographer and director of the Los Angeles Tap Festival; Broadway star Vivian Nixon (Memphis and Maurice Hines’ Hot Feet); and in a rare treat, dance legend Carmen De Lavallade, will take to the stage at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, 9390 N. Santa Monica Blvd., Beverly Hills, CA 90210 for a once in a lifetime concert that is not to be missed.


This year’s star-studded gala entitled Impressions: A Magical Night of Dance will feature performances by the DADA Ensemble, the Academy’s most advanced students and The Redbirds, the Academy’s troupe of gifted, younger performers. The gala, while leaving a major footprint in the concert world, will raise funds to continue the mission of the Debbie Allen Dance Academy, which expands its reach to youth in communities where arts education is limited or non-existent.


The evening’s special guest performer Misty Copeland is a highly acclaimed ballerina for the American Ballet Theatre who made history by becoming the second African American female soloist in the company’s history – the first in two decades.  She took her first ballet class at age 13 and by 15, was named as the Best Young Dancer in Greater Los Angeles by the L.A. Times. Copeland has also appeared as a guest judge on the FOX series So You Think You Can Dance (Season 11). Misty is the author of the New York Times bestselling memoir, Life in Motion, co-written with Charisse Jones, which was published March 2014. Her newly released picture book, Firebird (in collaboration with Christopher Myers)is the story of a young ballerina with fragile confidence and big dreams.


Dance legend Carmen De Lavallade is an iconic artist whose career spans over seven decades of dance, film and theater.  She has performed with legends such as Alvin Ailey, Lena Horne, Dorothy Dandridge, Harry Belafonte, Martha Graham and Ezra Belafonte. De Lavallade recently premiered As I Remember It, a memoir about her life on stage, in a performance intertwining movement and storytelling.


The New York Times hailed Desmond Richardson, with his technical virtuosity and statuesque expressive demeanor, as among the great dancers of his time. Richardson is the co-founder and co-artistic director of the New York-based award winning contemporary ballet company Complexions. The former principal dancer for the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater also performed as the lead in the American Ballet Theatre production, Othello and danced in the premier cast of the Broadway musical, Fosse for which he earned a Tony Award nomination.


Versatile performer Vivian Nixon has been described as a chameleon and virtuosic classical dancer by Sergio Trujillo, choreographer of the Broadway musical Memphis, in which Nixon starred.  She made her Broadway debut as the lead in Maurice Hines’ musical Hot Feet, an adaption of The Red Shoes.


Jason Samuel Smith is a world-renowned tap dance performer, choreographer and director, and the heir apparent to the incomparable Gregory Hines’ legacy. He won both an Emmy and American Choreography Award for Outstanding Choreography of the opening number of the Jerry Lewis Telethon in a tribute to Gregory Hines. Smith is also the founder of the tap dance crew, “The Wolf Pack,” as well as the director of the Los Angeles Tap Festival.  He is often called, “The Prince of Tap.”


“We will present an eclectic fusion of many dance styles, including ballet, modern, tap, salsa and hip-hop, sure to please the most serious dance fans, and novices too.  This night will truly offer something for everyone,” says DADA co-founder Debbie Allen.


The event will celebrate philanthropist Wallis Annenberg, who serves as President and Chairman of the Board of the Annenberg Foundation. Ms. Annenberg is a visionary who strives to improve the well being of people and communities throughout the world, particularly through education, communication, arts and culture.  Ms. Annenberg is one of the Debbie Allen Dance Academy’s earliest and most consistent supporters.


To buy tickets or to get sponsorship information, please call 310-280-9145 or visit:


About DADA

DADA is a non-profit organization dedicated to expanding the reach of dance and theater arts education to youth of the greater Los Angeles area. In 2001, Emmy Award-winning choreographer/director Debbie Allen and Norman Nixon founded the dance academy that now serves a diverse community of over 200 youth ages four to 18. The Academy is one of the city’s premiere performing arts institutions.



Lauren Tobin   [email protected]

Himerria Wortham

PANTHER PR   818-988-8864

DebbieAllenDanceAcademy   @DADancAcademy

 Press Coverage by: Dance Mogul Magazine

No Comments Yet

Leave a Reply