School of Dance Benefit Reaches Scholarship Goal

April 23, 2024
A photograph of a woman looking forward, smiling and talking at a podium

Misty Copeland

The School of Dance’s inaugural scholarship benefit gala on Feb. 16 was a resounding success, exceeding its goal of raising $100,000 to support student success at the University of Arizona.

The event showcased captivating performances from esteemed artists across the country, including the internationally acclaimed Hubbard Street Dance Company, tap virtuoso Maurice Chestnut, Ballet Tucson, and the Arizona School of Dance Ensemble. Hosted by School of Dance director Duane Cyrus, the event also featured special guest speaker Misty Copeland, principal dancer with American Ballet Theatre.

Prior to the concert, attendees enjoyed enriching experiences such as a reception and an exclusive VIP gathering. A highlight of the evening was a private Q&A session with Misty Copeland, providing School of Dance students with invaluable insights.


The event’s success went beyond artistic achievement, as it surpassed its fundraising goal, raising an impressive $100,000. These contributions will provide vital scholarships to support talented and dedicated dance majors within the school.

Junior Charles Palmer Jr. expressed his gratitude, stating, “Having a night full of community support was absolutely amazing! It means so much to me and all the dancers in the program!”

Reflecting on her experience, student Michelle Fricker said, “Engaging with donors at the School of Dance has been enriching. Connecting with patrons has not only provided financial support but has also forged meaningful connections. Dance patrons play a pivotal role in fostering a vibrant arts community, ensuring that artists have the opportunities and resources to thrive in their creative pursuits.”

The success of the inaugural scholarship benefit underscores the School of Dance’s commitment to fostering excellence and nurturing talent. It heralds a new era of opportunity and advancement for dance education at the University of Arizona.

“The School of Dance’s Scholarship Benefit was a lively event that brought students and patrons together in an evening of fellowship and dance,” said Cyrus. “Students shared the stage with top-notch internationally acclaimed professionals. We also welcomed local artists to the stage. Our featured guest, Misty Copeland, inspired the students with her words and gracious engagement. Most importantly, we reached our fundraising goal! We share our deepest thanks to the donors and supporters who helped make the event a success.”

A photograph of a man and woman deep in conversation on red chairs with dozens of students behind them talking, smiling and watching.

School of Dance Director Duane Cyrus with Misty Copeland following the student Q&A session.


The Kasser Family


Arch and Laura Brown Dr. Fran Orrok



Dr. Kathleen Assar Marlys A. Beider 

Tom and Joanne Quebedeaux


Bob and Linda Berzok Christine DeFouw 

Drs. Gail Burd and John Hildebrand John and Carol Ross


Michael Godnick Wes Green Judith Ruiz Karen and John Sarikas Liz Schulman


Betty and Jay Citrin 

Susan Tarrence and Stephen Golden Cande and Tom Grogan Morris A. Hazan Family Foundation 

Lynn and Chris Karabinas Jeffrey Mora 

Carla Pasetti


Fran and Jim Allen 

Joyce Crain and Carl Philabaum Susan Duchin Gretchen Goswick 

Dr. Fran Orrok 

Linda and Ken Robin

This story was originally published online by Arizona Arts on April 23, 2024