In the world of professional dance, Amar Ramasar is a rising star. The New York Times said his joy in dancing is infectious. Dance Magazine praised his “eloquent, expressive dancing and his engaging, ebulliant personality.” So it’s understandable that a lot of arts enthusiasts on the Lower East Side are anxiously anticipating a special performance by Ramasar, principal dancer with the New York City Ballet, this coming Sunday at the Abrons Arts Center (part of the Henry Street Settlement).
The event. “An Afternoon to Celebrate Amar Ramasar & Friends,” is notable on its merits. But because this is a homecoming of sorts, the benefit concert for one of our neighborhood’s most venerable arts institutions, carries special meaning. It was nearly 20 years ago at Abrons that Ramasar, a 10-year-old boy, first fell in love with dance.
“Henry Street Settlement opened my eyes and gave me a love for dance, Ramasar says. “It was the place where I realized dance was what I wanted to do with my life.” Riding the subway from his home in the South Bronx almost every day, he received invaluable training that would help launch his promising career.
Because of the years of intensive dance training at Abrons, he was accepted into the School of American Ballet at the age of 14. Four years later Ramasar became an apprentice with the New York City Ballet and was quickly promoted to the corps de ballet, and after five years became a soloist. The ballet named him a principal dancer in 2009. “It was because of Henry Street that I found my dream career,” Ramasar says.
On Sunday, Ramasar will dance with other members of the New York City Ballet as well as featured students from the Abrons’ training programs. Traven and I are pleased to be part of the benefit committee for this event. All proceeds will directly support the Abrons Arts Center’s training programs. As Daniel Catanach, Ramasar’s teacher, has said, Abrons offers one of “the very few opportunities for talented low-income youth to achieve their artistic dreams.”
The performance takes place at 3pm. There’s a wide range in ticket prices (from $50-$1000; all tax deductible). For more information, visit Abrons’ web site.