John 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. 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.
Dancers Over 40's mission is to provide a community of support for dancers, choreographers and related artists, while paying it forward to the next generation. DO40 produces two panels, an awards event, and a dance concert yearly as well as participating in the BC/EFA Flea Market in Shubert Alley, raising over $25,000.00 in the past 12 years.
Trained as a theater director, John wrote his master's thesis on Bob Fosse and His Visual Design for the Theater, interviewed Gwen Verdon while in college (University of Maryland), 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 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. He was also featured in the John Cassavettes film Gloria with Gena Rowlands.
Sefakis worked for many years at HBO, The American Lung Association (as Manager of Corporate Promotions and Licensing) and Thirteen/WNET as Associate Producer of MetroARTS/Thirteen while maintaining his ties to the dance and theater world. He is also very active in the fight against HIV. He was on the Community Advisory Board of the New York Blood Center for 10 years, and a member of the Global CAB for the HVTN and HPTN (HIV Vaccine & Prevention Trials Networks) and part of Project Achieve for 20. He began his volunteer work with Project Achieve in 1993 and participated in Achieve's Project Explore (VAXGEN HIV Vaccine) study in 1998. He has been doing outreach to the LGBTQ nightlife community for over 15 years as Stella D'oro, the Queen of Vaccine (and currently the Queen Mum of Vaccine). Stella's facebook page attracts a huge number of the young LGBTQ community, and by posting and tagging their pictures at events, and performing at venues such as Barracuda, Therapy and Industry and reinforces to the club goers the message of staying safe, healthy and determined to find a cure for HIV. A member of the original ACT-UP Housing Committee, he was also a GMHC buddy and team leader and a member of AIDS Prevention Action League and SEXPANIC!, which was formed to protest the harassment of the gay community by the Giuliani administration. He is also currently a volunteer for the Research Foundation to Cure AIDS.