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LehrerDance seeks your support at annual Ovations benefit

Photo courtesy of LehrerDance

BY: Lauren Kirchmyer | February 25, 2014

All it took was one dare for Jon Lehrer’s life to change forever.

While attending the University at Buffalo, Jon became friends with his classmate Tammy, who was a dancer. Jon would tell Tammy her dance classes on campus were an easy A, so she dared him to take a class to see what the life of a dancer is really like. To their surprise, Jon received an A in the class and fell in love with both dance and Tammy.

Jon and Tammy got married and seven years ago they began LehrerDance, a Buffalo-based professional dance company.

“I’m not from Buffalo but my wife is,” Jon said. “We knew in our gut starting the company in Buffalo was the right thing to do and if we kept our artistic integrity we would be supported.”

The amount of support LehrerDance has received has been tremendous. Over the past seven years, the company has grown from local to regional to national and now international status, which takes a typical dance company over 10 years to achieve. Between 2012 and 2013, LehrerDance traveled all over the United States, as well as Russia and Europe.

“It has been amazing to get recognition around the world. We’re very proud to carry the Buffalo name with us,” Jon said. As for 2014, “We have another full season of touring the country, and there will be a lot more performing here in Buffalo.”

Local performances will include collaborations with local arts organizations at different venues around Buffalo. On Oct. 4, they will be performing back where Jon’s dance career started, at the University at Buffalo in the Center for the Arts.

All of the traveling and performing LehrerDance does comes at a cost, and 100 percent of the donations this non-profit receives go directly to the dance company.

“What we do here in Buffalo and around the world, we couldn’t do without our supporters and donors,” he said.

The company’s largest benefit, Ovations, will be held on March 29 at Salvatore’s Italian Gardens. The event, which starts at 6 p.m., includes a themed basked auction, grab and go wine, a silent auction and, of course, dancing.

“Guests will have a chance to see two of our pieces up close and personal,” Jon said. “We usually perform in theaters but for this we will be performing in the ballroom. The audience will see LehrerDance like they’ve never seen it before.”

Tickets to Ovations are $100 and include food, drinks (open bar) and the LehrerDance performances. After dinner, guests are welcome to have their turn on the dance floor as CJ Sound will be the guest DJ for the night.

Ovations is open to anyone ages 21 and up. For ticket or sponsor information, visit www.lehrerdance.org. If you would like to donate to the basket or silent auctions, contact Jon at 803-8612 or jon@lehrerdance.org.

While at Ovations, guests will also have the opportunity to meet and mingle with Jon and the eight company members, three of which – Colleen Walsh, Rachael Humphrey and Ryan Moguel – are from Buffalo.

“My favorite part is having people talk to us,” Jon said. “As performers you don’t get to interact one-on-one, but this is a chance for Buffalo fans to get to know us.”

Jon and his company have come a long way over the past several years, but his favorite part of the company is the rehearsal process.

“I have so many ideas in my head and am always creating new things,” he said. “The way LehrerDance performs them, there’s nothing like that. To see my vision come to life is the greatest thing.”

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