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Fundraising Gala Co-Hosted by Dennis Haysbert, Debbie Allen and Norm Nixon; Allstate among the event sponsors

Honorees Judith Jamison and Robert Battle of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater


Los Angeles, CA (BlackNews.com) — Center Dance Arts (CDA) and the Music Center hosted a special fundraising gala in celebration of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater on Thursday, April 7, 2011 in Los Angeles at the private residence of CDA Chair Mattie McFadden-Lawson and Music Center Board of Directors member Michael A. Lawson. The special event honored renowned Ailey Artistic Director Judith Jamison and Ailey Artistic Director Designate Robert Battle. Celebrity co-hosts for the evening included famed actor and Allstate Insurance Company spokesman Dennis Haysbert, and acclaimed actress/producer/director/dancer Debbie Allen and her husband, Norm Nixon, former Los Angeles Lakers player and FOX Sports Net NBA analyst. Dancers from Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater were also in attendance.

As Artistic Director of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater for the past 21 years, Judith Jamison has brought the company to new heights and changed the world of dance itself. As Jamison steps down from her position in 2011, Artistic Director Designate Robert Battle will build upon Jamison’s work to create a new chapter in the Ailey legacy. CDA Honorary Chair Glorya Kaufman presented a special gift to both Jamison and Battle at the gala.

“We are inspired by Judith Jamison and Robert Battle for their respective contributions to dance, a true art form that brings people from all backgrounds together. What a pleasure to recognize their leadership of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. We thank Allstate and our many event sponsors who made this incredible evening possible,” said CDA Chair Mattie McFadden-Lawson.

Celebrities in attendance included actor Courtney B. Vance, painter/sculptor Artis Lane, actress Loretta Devine, actress Wendy Raquel Robinson, dancer/choreographer Desmond Richardson, actress Sharon Leal and actor/producer Wren T. Brown, among others. Approximately 250 distinguished guests, including leaders in business, cultural arts, education, media, and politics attended the gala. The festivities included a formal dinner, entertainment and dancing.

Corporate sponsors of the gala included AEG Worldwide, Allstate Insurance Company, City National Bank, Hudson Group, KPMG LLC, Los Angeles World Airports, Union Bank, UPS, and US Bank. Individual sponsors included Sue Baumgarten, Dennis Haysbert, Joan Herman and Richard Rasiej, Elizabeth Hirsch, The Audrey and Sydney Irmas Charitable Foundation, Jane Jelenko and Bill Norris, Mattie McFadden-Lawson, Dr. Nick and Valeria Rico-Nikolov, Catharine Soros and Alyce Williamson.

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