The Cosmopolitan Review

Yvonne Delaney Mitchell | 3/6/2014, 11:21 a.m.

The news of death often makes us stop and ponder the meaning of life, either our own or that of another. It makes us grateful for each day and makes us stop to cherish our friends, family and loved ones. We realize that nothing is promised in life, and it is up to us to make the best of each day. To make the best of it, the church says to pray, the mystics say meditate, teachers say learn your lessons, players say live for the moment and elders say take your time.

Everyone seems to have a theory or belief that works best for them, or does it? What helps to guide you through the maze of life? Either way, life is a process, and to those who have passed on, rest in peace. To the rest of us, find the peace within.

Dance Theatre of Harlem (DTH) held its 2014 Vision Gala at Cipriani 42nd Street, celebrating its 45th anniversary. This year’s gala theme was “Live the Moment.”

Among the honorees was Patti LaBelle, who received the Arthur Mitchell Vision Award. In accepting the award, she most graciously stated, “This is my 52nd year in this business called show, and to be honored by the Dance Theatre of Harlem for their 45th year anniversary, I feel so blessed, so honored.” 

The other honorees included dance educator and arts advocate Jody Gottfried Arnhold, who was given the Carl and Lily Pforzheimer Foundation Medal, and Goldman, Sachs & Co. Senior Partner Valentino D. Carlotti, who received the inaugural Virtuoso Award. Billy Joel, who was not in attendance, was honorary chair of the evening.

The evening’s event raised $700,000, $75,000 of which was attributed to the live auction conducted by Audrey Smaltz. Proceeds from the evening’s event benefitted the DTH School’s Next Generation and Community Engagement Funds.

The evening’s entertainment included a piece choreographed by DTH School Director Endalyn Taylor entitled “Over the Rainbow,” which was performed by the DTH School, and a preview of the DTH Company’s forthcoming spring season at Jazz at Lincoln Center with an excerpt from Raymonda. In conclusion, the company gave a special tribute performance to LaBelle that was choreographed by resident choreographer Robert Garland.

The surprise performance of the evening came from LaBelle, who showed her appreciation with an a capella rendition of “The Lord’s Prayer” with opera singer Jessye Norman joining her; and the audience said, “Amen.”

In attendance were nearly 400 corporate sponsors, supporters, friends, alumni and members of the board, including journalist Paula Zahn, Malaak Compton-Rock, Kimberly Chandler, Miss USA 2012 Nana Meriwether, Isiah and Lynne Thomas, Miss New York City 2014 Kira Kazantsev, Samuel Peabody, Judith M. Hoffman, Jean Shafiroff, Beverly D’Anne and Guy Mognaz.

Members of DTH’s board of directors were present, including Chairman of the Board Kendrick Ashton Jr., Gala Committee Chair Leslie Wims Morris, DTH Vice Chair Michael Armstrong, and members Isabel Kallman, Trey Muldrow, Kevin Cofsky, Zandra Perry Ogbomo, Asha Richards, Anne E. Robinson, Don M. Tellock and Aliya Lee. Dance on, sing on, live long and prosper.

Until next week … kisses