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Dancers helping dancers: Fairfield dance gala highlights fundraising spirit

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The excitement swells on March 1, as company dancers at the Fairfield Conn. D’Valda and Sirico Dance and Music Centre begin the final Saturday rehearsal for the Annual Scholarship Fund Benefit Gala and Auction. Set for March 8, at Fairfield University’s Quick Center for the Arts, the gala is the Centre’s major annual fundraising event to support its scholarship program. Now in its eighteenth year, the dance fundraiser demonstrates the Centre’s continued commitment to provide avenues for students who would not be able to afford to train otherwise.

“Scholarships are awarded to students of all levels”, explains Simone DePaolo, D’Valdo & Sirico Assistant Artistic Director who has been part of the faculty for 17 years. “Any young person who wishes to train and can’t afford to do so may apply. Scholarships are awarded based on need and desire, not necessarily who is already the ‘best’. It is the training that they receive at the studio that enables them to become the best they can be.” Established in 1987, under the direction of Angela D’Valda Sirico and Steve Sirico, the Centre offers instruction in piano, voice, and guitar, as well as an extensive dance curriculum of ballet, jazz, tap, and modern for all ages. The performance company has been featured in “Dance Spirit” and “Dance Teacher,” and has been awarded the State of Connecticut Official Citation for Dance Excellence as well as the Dance Educators of America President’s Cup for Overall Excellence.

While current media is saturated with tales of outrageous behavior within the dance community, it is refreshing when efforts such as the Centre’s fundraiser, highlight the benefits achieved when the dance community unites for a good cause: What began as a small union support program inspired from a national dance conference 28 years ago, Career Transition For Dancers, has grown into a nationally recognized organization helping thousands of dancers transition to new careers when professional dancing is no longer an option; through the work of Dancers Give Back, founded in memory of Jacquie Hirsch, similar events developed across the country, including Dancers Give Back Dallas and others to succeed in raising thousands of dollars to support cancer patients and cancer research; locally, alumni students from New London’s Dance Extension joined with 15 other local dance schools to stage the 2013 Rise Up Together We Thrive Benefit, to help a former company member who had become paralyzed due to a fall from a tree.

In support of the 2014 gala, special industry guests will perform, as well as the Centre’s vocal and dance companies, including: Carnegie Hall vocalist Hanna Golodinskii, dancers from the Broadway show Newsies, and guitarist Ian McHugh who toured with Javier Colon, winner of The Voice. Donated items of all kinds are accepted for the silent auction from service providers, restaurateurs, tickets, trips, even ‘babysitting and Barbie’s’. According to DePaolo, “with a little imagination we can made wonderful gift baskets for auction with most anything. All donations large or small are appreciated.”

Providing opportunities to those who would otherwise miss out, is what the Centre gala is all about, and can make the difference between realizing the dream of a professional dance career or not. DePaolo understands this all too well as her own daughter, a previous D’Valdo and Sirico dance scholarship recipient, is now enjoying a professional dance career in California performing with such artists as Selena Gomez and Ce Lo Greene.

Creating a means for a young performer's dream to come true is a great way to spend a Saturday evening!

D’Valda and Sirico Annual Scholarship Fund Benefit Gala and Auction
March 8, Quick Center for the Arts, Fairfield University
4 p.m.: Pre-Show Reception and Silent Auction
5 p.m.: Live Auction / Performance

Tickets: $35, may be purchased online, or at
D’Valda and Sirico Dance and Music Centre
1580 Post Road, (203) 255-9440

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