• Danseur exits dance company to ‘follow my heart’ • Despedida for beloved DCG Millie

The Israel-born ballet dancer Leo Arpon is bidding goodbye to the Armitage Gone! Dance company that has been his home in New York. This is his eighth and last season.

Arpon taught ballet in Israel, Japan and New York, and before becoming a U.S. citizen, considered the world his home where he continues to nurture his craft as a dancer and choreographer.

On his final season with AGD, Leo reflects on his collaboration with director Karole Armitage.

“I have learned so much from Karole and have grown tremendously in the past seven years with AGD! as an artist but more so a person. I am grateful for all the struggles, benefits and every moment of the journey.

“I am determined to pursue my dreams and determinations of truly changing the struggles in the world through Art by creating events and outreach programs to support children in need in order to open them up to their unlimited potential and overcome their difficult circumstances as was taught to me.

“Karole is one of the people who have opened wider the door for me to discovering the Mysteries of the Universe. With this I have also learned from Buddhist and peace activist Daisaku Ikeda: You must not for one instant give up the effort to build new lives for yourselves. Creativity means to push open the heavy, groaning doorway to life. This is not an easy struggle. Indeed, it may be the most difficult task in the world, for opening the door to your own life is, in the end, more difficult than opening the doors to the mysteries of the universe.

“It’s time for me to keep following my heart. For 30 years, I officially had no place to call home. This year, 2011, the 5-year-old boy who had Big Dreams to succeed as a Dancer in America became a citizen of the U.S. and is still becoming much more!

“To not believe that we can change the world for the better through our thoughts, words and actions would be telling that 5-year-old his dreams were impossible. After all, who thought I’d be a citizen of the most powerful country and be able to vote for an African American president? The journey to change suffering and create equality is still long. So for the sake of a better world, let’s teach the next generations to develop the heart and faith that says, Yes we can make the impossible, possible.”

Leo has performed with the Bat-Dor Dance Company under the direction of Jeannette Ordman and worked with Lucianno Cannitto, Randy Duncan, and Igal Perry. Since arriving in New York, he has worked with Arthur Aviles, Fredrick Earl Mosley, Richard Rivera, Matthew Rushing, Nathan Trice, Johannes Wieland and Kevin Wynn. He is a recipient of the American Israeli Cultural Foundation Scholarship from 1995 to 1998 and the Princess Grace Award for 2006.

He teaches Beginners Argentine Tango with his partner Ritsuko Sato to “non-dancers” and dancers alike at Ballet Arts, City Center and the Center for Remembering and Sharing. He said his Filipino-Israeli-New York experience gives his work a “tribal essence, raw energy, technical dance aesthetics and the passion for living and expressing oneself.”

The community awaits Leo’s next Act.

Leo on YouTube.

The much-loved Deputy Consul General Millie Thomeczek will be leaving New York soon, according to an email from publicist Grethel Bolandrina. She is calling on FilAms in the New York Tri-State, Massachusetts and Rhode Island to give Millie a sendoff she won’t forget.

Grethel calls it not a good-bye but a “Till We Meet Again” party. It will be held April 16, 2011, from 6:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. at Sheraton La Guardia in East Flushing, Queens. Attire is formal, and cost is $55 per person

“DCG Millie has been a very strong supporter of the Filipino American community
and I’m sure, you or your organization have somehow been served with the help
she has provided,” writes Grethel. “Please, save that date for her. Invite members of your organization and let us join hands in giving her a very warm despedida.”

Millie served as DCG from 2004; she speaks fluent German. She is a career diplomat and holds the rank of Career Minister. She served as consul and First Secretary at the Philippine Embassy in Bonn, Germany. When the Embassy moved to Berlin in 2000, she assumed the position of Officer-In-Charge of the Embassy Extension Office in Bonn. In Manila in 2001, she was a director in the Office of European Affairs and later executive director in the Office of American Affairs until her posting to New York in 2004.

She studied Communication Arts at Maryknoll College in Quezon City, and took her master’s in Literacy Communications at Syracuse University in New York. She has a second M.A. in Public Administration at the Speyer School of Administrative Sciences in Speyer, Germany.

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