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© 2024 Kim Kokich

Gala Chairs: The Honorable Ann Brown, Willee Lewis, Dr. Carlotta “Buffy” Miles

Honorary Gala Chair: Annie Simonian Totah

“Theater Chic” was the dress code for CityDance Conservatory’s Gala performance at the Kennedy Center’s Terrace Theater this past Sunday, and everyone who attended the performance had on their finest ensembles, from gold lamé gowns to ‘Met Gala’ style pastel suits. The audience was packed with sponsors, families and friends, and our CityDance Conservatory students definitely did not disappoint. They soared. They elevated! They danced with their hearts and souls, treating us to their diversity of dance talent.

CityDance Conservatory student Sophia Blucker in KuKu. Credit: Stark Photo Productions.

The one-hour performance displayed the incredible variety of dance genres that our students learn from our prestigious faculty, in-house choreographers, alumni choreographers, and guest choreographers. The program featured 17 individual dance works performed by our students with special guest appearances by alumnus Kevin Pajarillaga who performed his piece, ”Genesis” with New York-based Japanese dance artist Mio Ishikawa. 

Mio Ishikawa and Kevin Pajarillaga perform Genesis. Credit: Stark Photo Productions

In addition, guest dance artists Callie Hocter and Devon Larcher from Koresh Dance Company gave a special performance of an excerpt from Ronen Koresh’s “Masquerade”. There was even a surprise special guest appearance by Adji Cissoko of Alonzo King LINES Ballet who performed “Griot.” All in all the performance had something for every taste, and the high caliber of dancing by everyone was met with tremendous audience response.


Callie Hocter and Devon Larcher in Masquerade. Credit: Stark Photo Productions. 

After the performance our Gala Chairs The Honorable Ann Brown, Willee Lewis, Dr. Carlotta “Buffy” Miles and Honorary Gala Chair Annie Simonian Totah, CityDance Sponsors and Special Guests including CityDance Conservatory dancers, its faculty and staff along with our guest performers attended a festive party in the beautiful River Pavilion on the REACH grounds of the Kennedy Center to celebrate the wonderful achievements by everyone involved. 

Honorary Gala Chair Annie Simonian Totah and CityDance Conservatory students dance the night away at the afterparty. Credit: Third Act Photography.

Overlooking the Potomac river, on a mild and clear Washington evening, the catered event included outdoor seating and inside, a packed dance floor.  Young and old let loose to music ranging from Stevie Wonder to Drake and everything in between. It was an unforgettable evening that embodied the power of dance and its ability to communicate in a universal language the joy of movement and connection.