- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 6, 2003

Instead of the usual fancy food, decorations and silent auction, leaping and twirling dancers were the order of the night at the Feb. 26 benefit for Rincones & Company Dance Theater. "Because of the world situation, I just didn't want a big black-tie event. It wouldn't be me," said Juan-Carlos Rincones, founder and artistic director of the 10-year-old company, as he stood outside the Kennedy Center's Terrace Theater after the troupe's performance.
Almost all of the 400 invited guests showed up on a very cold and snowy evening to watch Mr. Rincones and his nine dancers whose signature look is diversity in ages, ethnic backgrounds, shapes and sizes (tall women, short men, no one looking anorexic). They performed "Collage," a compilation of dance vignettes to Latin, classical and jazzy scores.
"'Collage' was created as a thank-you to our supporters," said ballet Chairman Tom Pheasant, who also is a Washington interior designer of major note.
The thank-you was for an estimated $100,000 in donations, which makes up about a third of the company's annual budget. The rest is raised through grants and gifts, Mr. Pheasant said.
The post-performance reception took place in the Terrace's South Hall, whose dull interior was transformed into what easily could have been a dreamy design for one of Mr. Rincones' sets. White sheers, white lilies and white tulips were everywhere one looked.
Guests taking advantage of the opportunity to meet and converse with the dancers included Gertrude and Nicole d'Amecourt, Vicki Sant, Otto and Jeanne Ruesch, Hilda Brillembourg, Kay Kendall, Washington Ballet Artistic Director Septime Webre, artist Lou Stovall and Georgetown developer Anthony Lanier.
Benefit chairwoman Cynthia Vance was pleased with the laid-back reception:
"We all go to a thousand black-tie events, where we barely know what we're supporting. This way, we get to meet the dancers and learn what the company is all about."
Mrs. Vance and other enthusiastic board members hope to raise enough funds to give the troupe the opportunity to perform more frequently.
"We want to take the show on the road," Mr. Rincones said. "We want to grow, perform more even abroad. As a company, we're ready for that."
Gabriella Boston

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