Star-studded lineup expected Monday for “Dance Against Cancer” assistance…

NEW YORK — The annual “Dance Against Cancer” gala is back on Monday. It brings major dance stars together to fundraise for the American Cancer Society.

As CBS2 ‘s Dave Carlin reported Thursday, many of the performers have had personal experiences with cancer and they find the event helps them continue to heal.

Sarrah Strimel Bentley is a veteran of seven Broadway shows. From kicking and hair tossing by “Rock of Ages” to gliding and spinning by an “American in Paris, she has made it in a tough competitive industry.

And that prepared her, she says, for something that changed her life.

“September 2020, I got diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer at age 38,” Strimel Bentley said.

With discipline, grace, toughness, and sustain, she beat cancer and she talks about it with young dancers.

“I can’t sit down and quit,” Strimel Bentley told them.

She stopped by a rehearsal for dancers with Kanyok Arts Initiative. They’ll be performing at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tulley Hall on Monday, joining a star-studded lineup for Dance Against Cancer, which after more than 10 years of fundraising for the American Cancer Society is poised to move its grand total past $3 million in donations.

Strimel Bentley is coming out of retirement to perform.

“There’s a lot of turns and there’s a lot of kicking, so I was afraid,” she said. “Going by eight rounds of chemotherapy, 28 rounds of radiation, two surgeries, yeah, I was a little nervous.”

She is back as strong as ever. The young dancers offered an enthusiastic response. Ranging in age from 15 to 17, the dancers find participation in this additional meaningful because many of them are impacted by cancer in their family lives.

“My grandmother passed away of ovarian cancer,” Arielle Telfort said. “My parents always tell me she’s my guardian angel.”

Dance Against Cancer was established by longtime friends Erin Fogarty and Daniel Ulbricht. Her background is dancing plus arts management and education. He is a star principal dancer at New York City Ballet. Both have lost a parent to cancer.

When you have that absence, that loss, I think you’re searching for a way to almost pay back, to pay forward,” Ulbricht said.

“It showcases the level of community in the dance world and the art world at large,” Fogarty additional.

Monday’s assistance will also be live-streamed so people can be dazzled and lend their sustain from just about anywhere.

For a link to get tickets for the assistance and other information about how you can donate to Dance Against Cancer, please click here. 

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