professional dancers society, nigel lythgoe, mandy moore

Dancers Society Honors Mandy Moore, Carol Channing

The Professional Dancers Society (PDS), now in its 30th year, celebrated its Gypsy Awards by honoring Mandy Moore, a creative force in television and film as director, producer, choreographer and dancer. She is well know for her work with Nigel Lythgoe in Dancing with The Stars and So You Think You Can Dance, with nominations for four Emmys. Her film credits are spectacular, most recently with Damien Chazelle and “LA LA Land” and David O Russell’s Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle. On hand was Nigel Lythgoe to present the award to Mandy Moore.

The Carousel Dance Company presented an exciting live dance show with performers under the director of this year’s honorees Karen and Natalie Willes, mother and daughter choreographers of Carousel.

Ruta Lee remembered her best friend, Debbie Reynolds (1932-2016), who passed away in 2016, one day after her daughter Carrie Fisher. Reynolds had a long career in film, television and stage, plus an extensive preservation of costumes in her Las Vegas museum. She will always be remembered for Singin’ in the Rain.

Florence Henderson’s (1934-2016) daughter, Barbara Chase, shared clips from her mother’s amazing career, especially as TV mother of The Brady Bunch.

These dance aficionados had many accolades for another honoree, Lee Hale, who produces the annual PDS shows every year. His impressive musical background includes The Manhattans, The Carol Burnett Show, and creation of the Golddiggers, the backup group for Dean Martin Show. The Golddigger girls were there to celebrate Lee Hale’s award. Lee Hale produced musical specials for Gene Kelly, Bob Newhart, celebrity roasts and so many more.

Everyone’s favorite, Dick Van Dyke, couldn’t say enough about his friend and colleague Mary Tyler Moore (1936-2017), who recently passed away. She was a visionary talent in television, film and stage musicals, and that special star we think of from The Dick Van Dyke Show and The Mary Tyler Moore Show.

professional dancers society, dick van dyke
Dick Van Dyke at the 2017 Dancers Society event | Barbara Singer Photo

It’s a PDS tradition to pass the famous Gypsy Robe annually. Last year’s recipient dancer Sandahl Bergman enjoyed modeling it before sending it off to Sandy Roveta.

Honoree of the day, living legend Carol Channing, now 96 years old, was unable to attend and missed a dance tribute to her signature Hello Dolly dance, performed by the Michael Rooney dancers with Carol impersonator and dancing waiters. Her long career in film, TV and stage was reviewed in film clips.

Proceeds from the PDS go to help dancers in need of housing, medical care and other needs. President Mitzi Gaynor co-founded PDS with Chairman of the Board Joni Barry. PDS has now partnered with The Actors Fund. Enjoying the Gypsy awards at the Beverly Hilton were designer Bob Mackie, actors Charlotte Rae, Renee Taylor, Paula Poundstone and Mrs. Gene Kelly and so many show biz dancers.

For more about the Professional Dancers Society, visit their website.


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