Treasure for Treasure Party a Success!

On January 25, LJD held its Treasure for Treasure Party, a gala to benefit the company and the LJD School Scholarship Fund. The event was a success, with guests and LJD supporters even traveling from NYC, Westchester County and Connecticut, despite the snow and road conditions. LJD is grateful to John and Kathy Nye for providing their auction house as the gala venue. John, the “bow tie” appraiser from Antiques Roadshow, gave appraisals to a variety of items brought in by guests: an American Civil War sword, French Impressionist paintings, ancient Greek pottery and a family heirloom. In addition, there was a silent auction, with items ranging from a Fendi handbag to tickets to the Broadway show Kinky Boots.


Top Left:  LJD performs Night and Dreams, the 2013 work set to Schubert lieder, in the auction house space. Right: Guest Artist Carlos Lopez, LJD Board President Eugenia Lubell and Lydia Johnson enjoy the party. Bottom Left: LJD dancers and LJD Development Director Cheryl Arnedt enjoy a unique photo op at the Treasure for Treasure Gala. 

The company also performed Night and Dreams, the 2013 work set to Schubert lieder. “Lydia’s choreography and dancers, including guest artist Carlos Lopez, magically transformed the auction house into a theater with their compelling performance of Night and Dreams,” says LJD Board President Eugenia Lubell, who also made opening remarks prior to the performance.

The audience seemed to be enraptured by the performance, and there was silence and even some tears among the guests as the dancers performed the emotional, mystical movement with music to match. The dance itself seemed to become a dream.

Throughout the remainder of the evening, guests enjoyed food by Diana Hart Fine Catering, mingling with dancers and other supporters and even photo shoots in the LJD logo step and repeat studio.


LJD supporters enjoy the gala with LJD Board Members Steven Cramer, Rayna Pomper, Camilla Finch Teitelman and Meredith Caplan Wright.

“We are grateful to the many people who helped to make this event happen: the Board members, LJD staff, local high school students, LJD supporters, photographers, the Nyes and their staff, patrons, volunteers, auction and raffle donors,” Eugenia says. “There are so many people to thank, but a special shout out to Cheryl Arnedt, our Development Director, who put in a tremendous amount of sweat equity into the event; Sheila and Gautam Gujral for arranging and donating transportation for the dancers; and Kathy and John Nye for donating their auction house for the evening’s event.”

Check out the LJD Facebook page for an album of photos from the event.

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   Dancer Spotlight: Kerry Shea

Kerry Shea, a dancer who has originated many roles in the LJD repertoire and has also served as the company’s rehearsal director, has been working with LJD for 10 years. This month, Kerry has also been named LJD’s Associate Artistic Director, a role that will formalize the ongoing creative, working relationship she has developed with Lydia over the years. The artistic process continues to fulfill her, and the working environment that Lydia creates in the studio is one conducive to warmth and comradery, traits in LJD that perhaps Kerry cherishes the most.

Kerry Shea and Guest Artist Carlos Lopez in a duet from Night and Dreams (photo credit: Nir Arieli)
A Virginia native, Kerry is a classically trained dancer who studied at Pennsylvania Ballet. Then, graduating with high honors, she received her BFA on scholarship from the University of Utah. Prior to joining LJD, Kerry danced with Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, Ballet West and Sacramento Ballet, among others. In the LJD repertoire, Kerry says some of her favorite works include In Conversation (2004-2005), which was the first piece Lydia choreographed on her; Falling Out (2006), for the emotions – power, strength, fragility and anger – that her role requires; and the pas de deux for herself and dancer Eric Williams in Night of the Flying Horses (2013), a piece in which Kerry says she loses herself in the movement and music.

“One of my favorite aspects of working with Lydia is that dancers do not have to dance exactly alike,” Kerry says. “I love having freedom and choice in my ways of expressing Lydia’s movement. Some of my favorite moments are the quiet moments where Lydia and I work on details of that expression – what am I trying to interpret to the audience, does the solo read more if I start dancing small and let it build physically emotionally, or does the audience read the solo better if everything is more strong and powerful from the beginning? This artistic process is one of the reasons I am still dancing.”

Kerry also appreciates the laid back atmosphere in Lydia’s rehearsal studio. Dancers are able to play with movement and expression, make mistakes and not be judged negatively. The dancers of the company, too, play a part in the warm working environment.

“Currently, LJD has a really great group of dancers, and we are like family,” she says. “It is so nice to have that feel of support and honor what we each individually bring to the company.”

Kerry Shea and Eric Williams during a performance of Night of the Flying Horses (photo credit: Nir Arieli)

Over the years, Kerry has gained numerous fond memories with LJD: the company’s tour to Jacob’s Pillow in 2008, this past summer’s series of performances in Newport and the infamous “dress fiasco” in the middle of a performance of Dream Sequence, set to music by Dean Martin. “We discovered right before going on stage that all the dresses had holes in the crotch,” Kerry recalls. “We were all trying to sew each other’s costumes frantically before going on stage.”

When not in the dance studio, Kerry keeps busy with her own Pilates business. She also enjoys traveling and spending time with her husband, John. “I feel so lucky to have a husband who makes me laugh every day and shares his life with me,” Kerry says. “We both have a passion for travel, which has led us to Indonesia and Thailand this year. It’s been fun for us to learn about new cultures, to be on adventures and see new things. I like the perspective I gain, and in some roundabout way it informs my dance. John and I also enjoy the quieter nights, drinking red wine and playing hide-and-seek with our cat, Buster!”

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   Oberon’s Grove on LJD Company Class with Deborah Wingert

For the past few months, LJD Ballet Mistress Deborah Wingert, formerly with New York City Ballet, has been coaching LJD dancers and giving company class each Friday prior to rehearsal. Her attention to detail and intense wisdom has not only benefited the dancers by getting them warm and ready for rehearsal, but her class has also served them by further connecting them as a company.

 Deborah Wingert with LJD dancer Lisa Borres in company class. (photo credit: Philip Gardner)
Last month, Philip Gardner joined LJD in the studio for a class with Deborah and shared what he encountered on his dance blog, Oberon’s Grove. Read more here.


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   First of LJD Salon Series this Month!

On Sunday, March 23, LJD will host the first of the company’s Salon Series. This special afternoon gathering will include a discussion focusing on the collaborative coaching of LJD repertory, which Ballet Mistress Deborah Wingert and Lydia Johnson have developed, as well as the ways in which Deborah uses her deep knowledge of Balanchine’s technique and philosophy as the Ballet Mistress of LJD. LJD dancers will perform excerpts from the repertory, and there will be an opportunity for questions and thoughts from those joining us.

 Ballet Mistress Deborah Wingert and Lydia Johnson look on at dancers during rehearsal.

“An Afternoon Salon with Deborah Wingert” will take place at Manhattan Movement and Arts Center from 2-3:30pm. The event is free!

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   From LJD

We have some exciting news! On February 25, the New Jersey State Council on the Arts recognized Artistic Director Lydia Johnson with its prestigious Individual Artist Fellowship Award for her singular achievements as a choreographer. These highly competitive fellowships are granted based solely on the artistic quality of the work. All of us at LJD are so happy and proud! Thank you to our Facebook followers, friends, donors - everyone who appreciates the artistry of LJD.
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