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2009 Legacy Awards

In the Company of Friends

DO40 Legacy Awards - A HUGE HIT

DO40 Legacy Awards

The Legacy Award Honorees with Richard Skipper (Carol Channing) and President John Sefakis.  The Honorees, left to right are Margery Beddow, Marge Champion, Nicole Barth, Gemze de Lappe and Billie Mahoney

Dancers over 40 proudly honored Nicole Barth, Margery Beddow, Marge Champion, Gemze de Lappe and Billie Mahoney -- five women whose careers, lives and deeds have exceeded expectations and whose contributions to the art of dance have been considerable. 

They come from a variety of backgrounds, each with a special charm, a diverse dance history, and a story to tell.  They have shared their History, their Legacy and their Lives with Dancers Over 40 over the years, volunteered for us, and just plain made the world a better place for being here.

DO40 Legacy Awards DisplaySwing 46 was packed to overflowing December 13th, with members, friends of Dancers over 40 and many new faces from the Broadway, modern and ballet community all gathered to honor their own.  Oleg Bariansky and his wife (new members), were present, as well as Sondra Lee, Harvey Evans, Luigi, Mary Jane Houdina, Louisa Flaningam, Bick Goss, Carolyn Kirsch, Penny Worth, Rudy Tronto in from LA, Garold Gardener (who’s never in town for a DO40 event!) Teak Lewis, Lee Hooper, Gene Foote, Frank Pietri, Geye Bayliss, Ron Young, Jed Danforth, Kathy Conry (gearing up for the DO40 No No, Nanette reunion in the Fall!) Bill Guske, Judy McGrath, Karin Baker, Lois Silk, Dick Korthaze, Mary Lou Barber, Larry Merritt, Jane Klain – we could go on for paragraphs! 

The honorees were surprised when guests came up to speak about them – Harvey Evans and Sondra Lee for Marge Champion; Ron Young and Gene Bayliss for Nicole Barth; Ricci Adan and Dennis Cole for Gemze de Lappe; Luigi and Larry Stevens for Billie Mahoney and Luigi and Pam Saunders, Marge Beddow’s daughter, for Marge.

Guest Hostess with the most-est, Carol Channing (Richard Skipper, photo right) had the house howling with laughter, and sang two songs to the Richard Skipper as Carol Channinghonorees.  Carol told stories about how Marge Champion was responsible for starting her career in a show directed by Gower Champion and led the audience in a Happy Birthday to Margery Beddow (Dec 13th!) as well. (Richard Skipper was SO good, it took a little while for Luigi, left, to realize that it wasn’t REALLY Carol Channing!) As usual, video clips from this event will be on our youtube channel,, and a copy of the video will be donated to the Jerome Robbins Dance Collection at Lincoln Center Library for the Performing Arts.

The honorees were presented with beautiful Lucite awards, embedded with the new Dancers Over 40 Legacy Awards Logo, their name and DO40’s motto, “Our History…Our Legacy…Our Lives,”  designed by graphic artist Eric Perry, who also designed DO40’s new logo.  Since this was DO40’s first-ever awards presentation, the surprise factor was very high.  Honorees didn’t know whom of their friends were coming, or even speaking.  A gorgeous cake was commissioned, with the Legacy Awards logo inscribed on it, and the honorees took with them separate small cakes with their names on them.  They all were made by pasteries master Elizabeth Adam, who coincidentally, has a six degrees of separation/coincidence with Marge Champion:  her grandmother was Marge Champion’s voice teacher! 

Marge Champion and Luigi

The room was decorated by Swing 46, and table accessories and flowers designed by board members Lawrence Merritt and Karin Baker.  As always, the hardest gig of the evening was at the door, where board members Lois Silk, Kathy Seng Gurland, Gregg Mayer and Mary Lou Barber had extra work, as Swing 46 was not prepared for the DO40 onslaught, and many members were in line and on the street waiting to get in for what seemed to be an eternity (but it wasn’t quite that…!).  Special thanks to Mike Strong for video and photos, as well as Alexandra Corazza, who is a free-lance photographer for Thirteen/WNET.  Marcus Galante gallantly tried to shoot video from the back of the house, amidst the whirling dervishes of wait staff and roaming guests.  Emcee Richard Skipper donated his services for the event, and for that Dancers Over 40 is extremely grateful.  It takes waaay more than a village to produce the DO40 Legacy Awards!

DO40 Legacy Awards Audience

Our Legacy Audience

Dancers over 40 have many, many members to whom this honor can be bestowed.  We’ve just started the journey this year, and will continue this process with the Men of DO40 in December, 2010. We will be honoring our members outside the NY/NJ/CT area as well, and members who have not traveled the traditional path in the dance world.  You dance.  You live.  You create.  Our members have done it all.  And we salute them.

VIEW the DO40 Legacy Awards Photo Gallery

Dancers Over 40’s New Series a HIT!!

In the Company of Friends: Dancers Talking to Dancers
Opens to Raves May 20th at the New Dance Group Studios

Company of Friends Panel 1

Ann Pimm, Linda Ravin,
Kaye Popp, Lois McGuire

The audience laughed cried, gasped and clung to each and every word of the first panelists in DO40’s new series IN THE COMPANY OF FRIENDS: DANCERS TALKING TO DANCERS. Ann Pimm, in the original company of PAL JOEY and KAYE POPP, the original company of BEST FOOT FORWARD, (1941, 1942) and Stuart Hodes (Martha Graham Dance Company, DO RE MI, PAINT YOUR WAGON) and George Marcy (DAMN YANKEES, WEST SIDE STORY) entranced the audience with stories and anecdotes, artfully guided by their moderator, dancer/actor/ singer Harvey Evans (FOLLIES, NEW GIRL IN TOWN). Younger member Linda Ravin (SUGAR BABIES) was astonished by the ladies vivacity and enthusiasm. Nicole Barth, Ron Young and Ronnie Stratton were mesmerized by the stories, bringing Nicole to tears at times.

These women had dance partners who moved on to choreograph and direct many of our DO40 members later on in the 50s, 60s and 70s. There were lots of ooohhs and ahs when Kay Popp mentioned her young 16 year old partner Stanley Donen who was in both PAL JOEY and BEST FOOT FORWARD. And when the discussion turned to Gene Kelly and his wives (Ann was close to Jeanne Coyne, who eventually became Gene Kelly’s wife) the audience was more attentive than if they were waiting for the envelope to be opened for best musical at the TONY Awards!

Company of Friends Panel 3

Here’s moderator Harvey Evans flanked by audience members Jeanie Charnin, Ron Young, Lee Hooper and Nicole Barth. They all learned a thing or two about their mentors, their friends and their choreographer/director friends Sunday afternoon!

Harvey did a bang-up job as moderator, engaging everyone – and even keeping DO40 Board Member and panelist George Marcy to the issues at hand! George’s honesty and humor brought the house to tears – and cheers, as he performed a twenty minute set after the panel discussion – and brought Ann and Kaye up with him to do a soft shoe to “Bye Bye Blackbird!” The AVERAGE age of the panel was 84 ½. George brought down the number – he’s GOING to be 80 this year. He was the “kid” on the panel!


Company of Friends Panel 5

Ann Pimm, Kaye Popp,
George Marcy and Marge Beddow


Company of Friends Panel 7

Panelists Ann Pimm, Kaye Popp and George
Marcy, with Moderator Harvey Evans

Company of Friends Panel 2

Terry Violino, Stuart Hodes, Marilyn D’honau

Also present were DO40 board member Richard Korthaze and DO40 member Terry Violino who were in the revival of PAL JOEY in the 50s. This production was more widely acclaimed than the original with Gene Kelly. Frank Pietri (WILDCAT, SEESAW, BALLROOM), Marge Beddow (REDHEAD, LITTLE ME), and DO40 members Teak Lewis, Nicole Barth, Ron Young, Lawrence Merritt, Gene Gavin and Marilyn D’honau added their twinkle to the afternoon. If you added up all the shows and number of performances these dancers danced on Broadway, it would stretch longer than the run of CATS and PHANTOM!


Kaye Popp Life Magazine

The cover of LIFE Magazine, 1943, with
Kaye Popp dancing the Lindy Hop!


The afternoon’s discussion was taped for posterity. It is being donated to the Dance Collection at the New York Public Library at Lincoln Center. This is the first in a series of panel discussions featuring our members – our most precious commodity!! Our next panel will be in the Summer and feature our DO40 Fosse dancers through the ages – from the 50s to the 70s. Raffle prizes of a year’s membership to Gold’s Gym and an mp3 player ended the afternoon with a bang! Well, not counting George Marcy’s 20 minute set!

Company of Friends Panel 4

The audience during the buffet/lunch
portion of the SpringFling


Company of Friends Panel 6

Moderator Harvey Evans
and George Marcy


Company of Friends Panel 8

Sell it Georgie!!!!! We’re goin’ home!
George Marcy ends the afternoon with a
20 minute set from his cabaret act.

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