FoAT Report: Our First Gala
On Friday, March 3 Friends of Argentine Tango hosted our first Gala event to raise awareness and funds. Everything from the location—at Dancing Classrooms—to the flags of Argentina and Uruguay that greeted our guests at the door, reflected the unique spirit of FoAT.
As a new member of the FoAT Board of Directors, I’m happy to say that FoAT is off to a good start. I’ve prepared this report for friends unable to attend on March 3 and to give full credit to everyone who made the evening an extraordinary event.
Walter Prerez, founder and Executive Director of FoAT made a brief presentation about the FoAT mission, ongoing programs and plans. He also shared some wonderful “breaking news” as just days before the Gala, FoAT received a grant that will enable Walter and other teaching faculty to bring the healing power of dance to seniors at the FoAT Tango for Wellness at The YM & YWHA in Inwood.
FoAT and this organization have been partners since 2014 and sometimes budget problems have interrupted the program. This Creative Learning grant, from the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, and New York State Council on the Arts, will help keep the seniors dancing through 2017!
Walter also started a new program "Latin Dancexercise” for older folks coping with dementia at the Queens Community House in Forest Hills.
Arlene Jordan, FoAT Board President, then invited everyone present to consider supporting FoAT with both donations and as volunteers. The presentation was created by FoAT teacher and website designer, Phi Lee, featuring splendid photos by Ana Cortez—another wonderful volunteer and collaborator of FoAT
Our mini Gala Tango show featured live music. Mariela Marco sang, with Frederico Puebla at the keyboard, Javier Sanchez playing bandoneon, and Horacio Martinez on guitar. Angeles Chanaha and Audrey Martinez (a member of our teaching faculty), joined Leonardo Sardella (FoAT Program Director) and Walter Perez for a few joyous songs.
One of the highlights of the evening was a surprise appearance by Danka, a student in the FoAT Tango for Wellness program at the Y in Inwood. Danka, confined to a wheelchair since a stroke, happily joined Walter on the dance floor for a short demonstration of the power of Tango to heal the body, mind, and spirit.
A party is impossible without a team of eager helpers and FoAT is fortunate to have wonderful friends willing to offer time, energy and creativity. Monica, Patty, Anel, Ayako and Edit (volunteers), Vija (flowers), and Maryann (wine) all worked hard to make our first Gala a success. The entire Board of Directors was present and available to talk to people interested in joining our growing board.
The food was provided by our favorite Uruguayan chef—Catalina's Catering. Everyone loved the authentic treats, luscious cake, and most of all the alfajores emblazoned with the FoAT logo!
The dance floor during the Milonga portion of the evening (DJ Amy Wilson) reflected the FoAT spirit of inclusion and diversity, with men and women of all ages and abilities, leading and following, and enjoying the party atmosphere. FoAT invites everyone to embrace the Tango as a welcoming home. I sincerely hope that this unique non-profit grows as more people learn about FoAT’s mission and good works.
Please connect with Walter Perez, Arlene Jordan, or any member of the FoAT Board for more information about how you can become a part of the FoAT family. Look for photos and more about FoAT on Facebook.
I promise to keep everyone updated on FoAT’s activities.
FoAT Board Member