“A community of support for all dancers entering — or continuing their creative years”

 

 

 

Board of Directors

John Sefakis, DO40 PresidentJohn Sefakis has been President of Dancers Over 40 since 2006, and grown the organization four-fold by expanding the DO40 mission to include panels, socials, casting opportunities and performances as well as opening up the organization to younger members and non-dancers as well (hence the new secondary Logo, Dancers Over 40..and Friends).  He has been a member since 1998, when, as Associate Producer on MetroArts/Thirteen, he arranged for the group to be featured in a week-long tribute, hosted by theater and dance critic Clive Barnes.

Trained as a theater director, Sefakis wrote his master’s thesis on Bob Fosse and His Visual Design for the Theater, interviewed Gwen Verdon while in college, and later, during the MetroArts years, had the opportunity to work with her and feature a week about “Fosse” on MetroArts/Thirteen when it previewed in Canada and finally arrived in NYC in 1999.

John began dancing at 3 ½ , and ended up studying in his home town with a Luigi-trained dancer, Jane DeFalco, who still takes Luigi classes when she can (at 80!).  She was an accomplished tapper, having assisted June Taylor in the 1960’s.  Sefakis moved to NYC in 1975, and because of his excellent hometown dance training, found dance work almost immediately, teaching tap and jazz at Phil Black’s dance studio, where he taught from 1975 – 1989. He also directed and choreographed many regional and stock productions of “Pippin,” “Chicago,” “Dames at Sea” and many plays for the Playwrights Active Cooperative Theater, as well as writing a play that was staged at the York Theater.

Sefakis worked for many years at HBO, The American Lung Association (as Manager of Corporate Promotions and Licensing) and Thirteen/WNET while maintaining his ties to the dance and theater world.  He is also very active in the fight against HIV. He has been on the Community Advisory Board of the New York Blood Center for ten years, and is a member of the Global CAB for the HVTN and HPTN (HIV Vaccine & Prevention Trials Networks). He began his volunteer work with Project Achieve in 1993 and participated in Achieve’s Project Explore (HIV Vaccine) study in 1998.  A member of the original ACT-UP Housing Committee, he was also a GMHC buddy and team leader and a member of the AIDS Prevention Action League and SEXPANIC!, which was formed to protest the harassment of the gay community by the Giuliani administration..

Kathy Seng GurlandKathy Seng Gurland, like many dancers, came to NYC right after high school and threw herself into classes, auditions and part time jobs. Her ballet teacher from Philadelphia recommended a Jazz teacher named Chuck Kelly and thus began her adventures at Don Farnsworth’s Studios. After passing the mandatory student verbal abuse tests from Chuck in jazz, tap and acrobatics, she remained a dedicated follower and eventually wound up being one of his first teachers and a long term friend. She joined DO40 right after her 40th birthday and has been a loyal member ever since. She joined forces with Ron Stratton in planning two of the holiday parties several years ago and has him to blame for getting roped into the position of treasurer.

Kathy spent most of her dancing career doing dinner theater and summer stock, toured with Cyd Charise and Tony Martin, and then moved into choreographing and directing. She assisted Tony Award winning Director Dennis Rosa on several productions and eventually made it to Off Broadway as an understudy in the musical flop “Surf City.” She landed a few national commercials during those years (Dawn, Uncle Ben’s Rice, etc.) but as we all know, those residuals really don’t pay the rent. Realizing that she was not going to join the ranks of Broadway’s rich and famous, Kathy decided to pursue a college degree while still dabbling in “the biz.” After seven years of part time study, while working multiple jobs and taking ballroom classes to maintain her sanity, she received her BA from NYU just prior to her 40th birthday.

Swearing to never return to school again, Kathy worked for five years in social services enduring the 9-5 schedule while simultaneously building a relationship with her former professor that happily ended with an elopement in the Virgin Islands.

Eight years ago Kathy went back on her promise and returned to NYU (this time for free thanks to the hubby) to pursue a masters degree in Social Work. She graduated in 2000, passed the state licensing exam and immediately began working in her two chosen fields – hospice and psychotherapy. Kathy still feels to this day that it is a true honor and privilege to provide end of life services to individuals throughout NYC and also still thoroughly enjoys being a “shrink” to her ongoing private clients.

After over 30 years living in the “only borough”, Kathy and her husband made the move over the bridge to Brooklyn last year and now reside in DUMBO. After going through withdrawal and adjusting to the peace and quiet, they are now confirmed Brooklynites. (The view of your City is marvelous from here and so are the sunsets.) Kathy and Bob also own a home on the island of Culebra, PR and Kathy is considering holding a DO40 membership meeting there in 2007 for those of you who like the beach.

Nancy Dalton Flowers - Board member Nancy Dalton Flowers graduated from the High School of Performing Arts, danced on several TV shows including The Ed Sullivan Show as a Peter Gennaro dancer and assisted Alan Johnson on S' Wonderful, S' Marvelous, S' Gershwin which won an Emmy Award for best choreography.  She also performed in numerous summer stock productions and five Broadway shows and danced and sang in an act with Peter Gennaro and Mary Jane Houdina.

After leaving the dance world Nancy worked at Morgan Stanley for 28 years.  Now that she is retired she enjoys singing in the choir, community theater and zumba -- but most of all enjoys her four grandchildren!

Eilleen Casey - DO40 Founding Member Eileen Casey arrived in NYC from Boston, MA at 18 to pursue her professional dance career. She studied with all the top teachers in New York at the time, including Luigi and Matt Mattox. Her first job was for a TV commercial dancing with Broadway performers. Shortly thereafter, she booked a summer stock job obtaining her Equity card and she was on her way to a career totaling 16 Broadway shows, as well as TV and Film.

Eileen worked with all the major choreographers and directors of the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s, such as Bob Fosse, Gower Champion, Jerome Robbins, Tommy Tune and Michael Bennett. She traveled extensively, performing with such notables as Mary Martin, Ethel Merman and Fred Astaire, which gave her invaluable experience.

Some of the highlights of her career were working on Bob Fosse’s All That Jazz as a principal dancer, being in a TV special with Fred Astaire and doing a Woody Alen film as a ghost dancer in Everybody Says I Love You. She loved performing in a commercial for Ajax, choreographed by the famous Gwen Verdon.

Eileen’s Broadway credits include Hello, Dolly, West Side Story, Mame, Promises, Promises, Sugar, Seesaw, Pippin, Dancin’ and My One and Only. She also dance in several pre-Broadway shows and a few that opened and closed quickly, like Marilyn and Mata Hari. She loved performing in the annual Milliken Breakfast shows and working with the top Broadway stars and choreographers there.

Eileen attributes her success to her love and discipline for her profession, along with enthusiasm and a drive to… succeed! She consideres herself fortunate to have worked with all these legends of theater and dance.

Sasha SpielvogelSasha Spielvogel - Sasha Spielvogel’s Labyrinth Dance Theater is a classically trained modern dance company founded in 1979. With a repertory that ranges from the comedic to the sensual, to choreography embodying social justice, Sasha believes that dance has the power to help repair the world. Critics from the New York Times to Attitude Magazine described Ms. Spielvogel’s work as, “Totally mesmerizing,” “Striking!” “A powerful achievement, performed superbly” and “Raises the art form to where it should always be: Towering!”Ms. Spielvogel’s dance film, Dark Angel, was screened in Manhattan and the LOIKKA Dance Film Festival, Helsinki. The Promise of Rest, created to honor all those bullied for their sexual orientation, was performed at Jacob’s Pillow for ADG. Beginning in 1998, Sasha has had six pieces in Dancers Over 40 programs: Les Espaces du Sommeil, Passing, Auditioning for the Celestial Follies, Entre Nosotros, Not Even If I Try; Come Back Once More So I Can Say Goodbye, co-produced by DO40 in 2015, is an evening-length work about gay life in NYC and the advent of AIDS from 1965-1995 which received standing ovations at the Alvin Ailey Theater. The company toured Finland and St. Petersburg, Russia with Backstreet this summer. NOOR, a dance theater work based on the life of Noor Inayat Khan, a Sufi pacifist who became an allied spy during World War II, was performed in November by Felicia Norton at St. Mark's Church to a sold-out house. Ms. Spielvogel is grateful for her continuing relationship with D040 in this crazy business of show business.

Richard KorthazeRichard Korthaze. No doubt you’ve seen Richard Korthaze in many, many Broadway shows. He was in the original “Pippin,” the original “Chicago,” as well as Fosse’s “Dancin’.” His first gig was in the chorus of the first revival of “Pal Joey” in 1951. Dick has been honored with the Gypsy Robe many times (see picture), and also appeared on Broadway in “Anything Goes” and “Take Me Along.” His movie credits include I’m Not Rappaport, The Addams Family and Sweet Charity.

 

Lawrence Merritt has appeared in over eight Broadway shows, including No Strings, Dear World, Applause, Pippin and Evita and TV specials for Kraft Music Hall, Ann-Margret, Anne Bancroft and numerous live Ed Sullivan shows. His leading ladies in the nightclub circuit include Juliet Prowse, Ann-Margret, Raquel Welch's world tour and partnering Ginger Rogers for a year and a half. After surviving a car accident involving a spinal cord injury and learning to walk again, Lawrence discovered his voice through acting, performing many major roles regionally and in New York City for the last thirteen years.

Lately he has become involved with Theatre Breaking Through Barriers (TBTB), “dedicated to advancing actors and writers with disabilities and changing the image of people with disabilities from dependence to independence”. He appeared in their 2013 10 one-act play festival, featuring works by Neil LaBute, Samuel D. Hunter, Jerrod Bogard and Lynn Manning.  A long time Dancers Over 40 member, Lawrence joined the DO40 board in 2010 and the highlight of his tenure was our October, 2013 Ron Field event which he hosted with Marianne Selbert and Harvey Evans.

Patrick McCarthy

Patrick McCarthy [Membership] after training with Reid Gilbert, William Burdick, Tom Leabhart, Carlo Mazone Clementi, and Rosalie Jones at the Valley Studio, Spring Green, Wis, on stage & in film he has worked with choreographers Tony Stevens, Tony Parece, Josh Rhodes, Greg Graham, Becky Garrett, Millie Garvey, Marc Robbins, Sean Morrisey, Tralen Doler, Ross Lehman, Richard Ruth, Joey Patton & Gary Slavin. With DO40 member Sasha Spielvogel, he collaborated with & appeared on stage in COME BACK ONCE MORE SO I CAN SAY GOODBYE, DO40's Spring 2015 concert at Alvin Ailey Dance Theatre. He has also appeared on stage with Elke Sommer, Bill Hayes, Peter Palmer and Sierra Boggess. He is an award winning playwright ptmcplaywriting.com and has served on the boards of many performing arts organizations.

Advisory Board

Marge ChampionMarge Champion was one half of the "Gower and Marge Champion" dance team. She began dancing as a child under the instruction of her father, Ernest Belcher, who was a noted Hollywood ballet coach. As a teen, she served as the model for the heroine of Disney's feature-length cartoon SNOW WHITE and for the Blue Fairy in PINOCCHIO, and appeared in westerns under the name "Marjorie Bell." She teamed up with actor/choreographer Gower Champion in 1945; they were married in 1947. They went on to appear together in a string of highly popular musical films in the '50s, becoming the screen's most appealing dance team since Astaire and Rogers. After the team quit making films, she went on to be a character actress in a number of movies; also, she created dances for films (The Day of the Locusts, etc.), the stage (Stepping Out, Grover's Corners), and TV. Marge Champion’s work as the choreographer for the TV special QUEEN OF THE STARDUST BALLROOM earned her an Emmy in 1975.

Graciela DanieleGraciela Daniele danced in the original FOLLIES with first DO40 President Chris Nelson, and performed in many memorable musicals, including the original CHICAGO for Bob Fosse. Her Broadway director/ choreographer credits include MARIE CHRISTINE, ONCE ON THIS ISLAND, ANNIE GET YOUR GUN revival AND DANGEROUS GAME. She choreographed THE GOODBYE GIRL, THE RINK with Liza Minnelli and Chita Rivera and the NYSF production of THE PIRATES OF PENZANCE on Broadway, in Los Angeles and London. She was awarded the 1996 and 1997 FOSSE Award as well as the George, “Mr. Abbott,” Award for Outstanding Achievement by a Director/ Choreographer in 1998.

Larry Fuller - Larry Fuller's Broadway choreographic works included Evita (he also did the original London production), Sweeney Todd, On the Twentieth Century, Merrily We Roll Along, A Doll’s Life and the American premiere of Kurt Weill's Silverlake for the New York City Opera.

Mr. Fuller both directed and choreographed the off-Broadway musical Love, which won two Outer Critics Awards for Best Book and Best Musical Score, and a summer spectacular at Radio City Music Hall, Gotta Get Away.

His non-musical directorial credits include two New York off-Broadway productions by Canadian playwright Maxim Mazumdar, Oscar Remembered, at the Provincetown Playhouse and Invitation to the Dance at American Theater of Actors.

In Europe he directed and choreographed the first European productions of Candide, Girl Crazy and On the Town, along with four German productions of West Side Story. He worked on the films A Little Night Music, starring Elizabeth Taylor, and The Boarding School, starring Natassja Kinski. At the Theater An Der Wein in Vienna, he created the highly successful dance evening Jazz and the Dancing Americans, and for the London Festival ballet a classical piece entitled Humors of Man. Also in London, he directed and choreographed the West End hits Marilyn, the Musical and Time.

For Evita, Mr. Fuller received a TONY award nomination for Outstanding Choreography, a Los Angeles Drama Critics Award for Distinguished Choreography and two New York Critics Circle Awards for his work on Sweeney Todd and Evita and the New York Television Academy Award for choreographing the Our American Musical Heritage series on WCBS-TV.

He has twice staged and choreographed both the TONY and EMMY awards, which were internationally telecast.  Mr. Fuller’s credits also include the musical staging the first national tour of the Jekyll and Hyde, directing and choreographing three national tours of Evita, the world premiere of JFK -A Musical Drama and On Your Toes with the Stuttgart ballet.

AND he also had time to choreograph and stage numbers for Dancers over 40’s DO40 CARES: Song and Dance Concerts at the Ailey Citigroup Theater/Joan Weill Center for Dance from 2010-2013. (Pictured with Patti Lupone.

Valerie HarperValerie Harper was born in Suffern, NY and attended Hunter College and the New School for Social Research, both in Manhattan. Her stage career began at New York City's Radio City Music Hall, not as a Rockette but dancing in the now-discontinued Corps de Ballet. While earning her living by performing in such Broadway musicals as "Li'l Abner," "Destry Rides Again" with Andy Griffith, "Take Me Along" with Jackie Gleason, "Wildcat" with Lucille Ball and "Subways Are For Sleeping" with Orson Bean and Carol Lawrence, Valerie studied acting. Her teachers included John Cassavetes, Mary Tarcai and William Hickey. She was privileged to train with and work for Viola Spolin, the creator of Theater Games and author of "Improvisation for the Theatre." Viola's son, director Paul Sills who created and directed the famed Second City, invited Valerie to join his company of players. As time went on she performed in nightclubs (Cellar Door, Village Gate), summer stock (University of Connecticut), regional theatre (Seattle Repertory Company) and improvised and wrote radio commercials. Valerie's later Broadway credits include Carl Reiner's "Something Different," the Tony award-winning "Paul Sills' Story Theater," Sills' production of "Ovid's Metamorphoses" and in the new millennium, Charles Busch's "The Tale of the Allergist's Wife." She counts many DO40 members as her close friends from this special time in her life.

Valerie achieved fame and four Emmy Awards playing Rhoda Morgenstern on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" and the spin-off series "Rhoda." During her nine years as the character "Rhoda", she was the recipient of a Golden Globe Award, Harvard University Hasty Pudding Woman of the Year Award, Hollywood Women's Press Club "Golden Apple" Award, and a Photoplay Gold Medal Award. In 2000 Valerie reprised the role of Rhoda Morgenstern (along with Mary Tyler Moore as Mary Richards) in the ABC television movie "Mary and Rhoda," which attracted nearly 18 million viewers. In 1987 she was seen as "Valerie Hogan" in the then-titled NBC series "Valerie" (later "The Hogan Family") and also starred in the 1990 CBS series "City" and in the 1994 CBS series "The Office."

Throughout her career, Valerie has continued to work in the theatre. She performed with various companies of Second City and Story Theatre in many venues all over the country and in Canada. In 1970 she was a member of the original stage production of "Story Theater" in Los Angeles at the Mark Taper Forum and opened with the show in New York when it moved to Broadway. In 2001 Valerie was back on Broadway starring in Charles Busch's hilarious comedy "The Tale of the Allergist's Wife". She played "the Wife" (Marjorie Taub) for a year on Broadway and then for another year in the National Tour. DO40 welcomes her back to her roots – and her friends!

Carol Lawrence - The stars were aligned for the Broadway Cares/ Equity Fights AIDS 50th Anniversary salute to the original cast of West Side Story, and many, many of our members were onstage talking their bows with our newest Advisory Board Member and original Maria, Carol Lawrence. When DO40 Board Member George Marcy suggested Carol, the board over-whelmingly agreed! We can’t find a better supporter of our members than Carol. She has worked with dozens, if not more, DO40 members over the course of her spectacular career.

Carol’s Broadway credits are numerous, but some of the highlights are New Faces of 1952, Subways are for Sleeping in 1961, and stepping in to Kiss of the Spider Woman in 1995. She’s appeared in hundreds of variety show specials and television series, from Sex in the City to Rawhide! How diverse is that! DO40 welcomes her to our community, and to New York City, where she currently is taking up residence. The DO40 welcome wagon is coming soon, Carol! Get ready!

Jerry Mitchell - Award-winning director and choreographer Jerry Mitchell who was born in Paw Paw, Michigan, used to be a choir boy.  His career in choreography started when he was hired as associate choreographer by legendary stage director Michael Bennet for the musical Scandal.  He was also associate choreographer to Jerome Robbins on Jerome Robbins' Broadway.

He performed as a dancer on Broadway shows The Will Rogers Follies, Brigadoon and On Your Toes.  In 1979, he was cast member for the national tour of the critical hit and Tony Award winning play A Chorus Line.  Two years after, he became sole chorographer for the You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown revival.  In 2001, his choreography on The Full Monty earned him Tony, Drama Desk and Astaire Award nominations.  His choreography on Hairspray also received the same nominations plus one more nomination from the Outer Critics Circle Awards, as well as awards for his Tony-winning Kinky Boots.

In 2005, he took home a Tony, a Drama Desk and an Outer Circle Award for his outstanding choreography on La Cage aux Folles.  He was also Drama Desk nominated for his choreography and directorial job on the musical Legally Blonde.  Among his body of works are the choreography on the revival of Gypsy, The Rocky Horror Show, Jekyll and Hyde and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels to name a few.

Chita RiveraChita Rivera, winner of two Tony Awards (Kiss of the Spider Woman; The Rink) and seven additional Tony nominations told DO40 board member and former dance partner George Marcy that she was thrilled to be added to our roster. She recently starred on Broadway in CHITA RIVERA: THE DANCER’S LIFE, a musical celebrating her life and career as one of America’s most beloved stage performers. She appeared in the revival of the musical Nine with Antonio Banderas. In December, 2002 she received the coveted Kennedy Center Honor in Washington, DC. Ms. Rivera created the role of Velma Kelly in the original Broadway production of Chicago opposite Gwen Verdon (1975) and appears in the film version.

Caterina Valente - DO40 Advisory Board member Caterina Valente was born into an Italian circus family. Her mother was a clown and her father was an accordion player. As a child she worked in the circus as well. She performed in Europe as a singer for several years, but her career as an internationally known vocalist began in 1953 and She was soon signed to Polydor and made her recording debut for the label the same year. Her first big hits came soon after that, charted in Europe and eventually England and the U.S. "Malagueña" was her first big hit, followed by "Andalucia," which, when re-released in an English version as "The Breeze and I," became a Top Ten hit in both the U.K. and the U.S. By this time, Caterina had become a truly multilingual artist, performing her cabaret act and issuing recordings in six languages: French, German, Italian, English, Spanish, and Swedish. During the '50s and '60s she notched hits in the charts of many countries, including Italy ("Till," "Personalita," "Nessuno al Mondo"), Germany ("Ganza Paris Träumt von der Liebe," "Wo Meine Sonne Scheint," "Steig in das Traumboot der Liebe"), and France ("Bimbombey," "39 Fievere," "Saitôn-Jamais"). Her version of "La Golondrina" appeared on one of the first charity albums, 1963's All Star Festival. The proceeds from that album went to aid refugees. In the U.S., her stardom was assured when she made 12 appearances on the Perry Como Show in the 1960’s. She continued recording into the mid-'80s, issuing Caterina ’86, a recording made with the Count Basie Orchestra.
Joy Abbott
Dr. Phillip Bauman
Andre Bishop
Judge Phylis Gangel Jacob
Dr. Masood Khatamee
Dr. Lawrence McDaniel
Diane Nichols
Photo By Jeff Eason, Wilsonmodels, Inc