MCB Founder Toby Lerner Ansin Receives Dance/USA Champion Award

Dance/USA, the national service organization for professional dance, is making its way to Miami for its 2015 Annual Conference, beginning Wednesday, June 17, with an Opening Night Celebration at the Pérez Art Museum Miami.

The kickoff event will honor Miami City Ballet founder Toby Lerner Ansin as the recipient of the Champion Award, given to an organization, business, foundation or individual from the event’s host city that has continuously displayed stellar leadership and support in the local and national dance communities.

Ansin’s impact on dance began 30 years ago when she singlehandedly mustered the drive and funding to create Miami City Ballet. Without any financial compensation, she rolled up her sleeves and worked around the clock focusing her efforts on growing her then-infant company.

“It was just a glorious time,” says Ansin. “When you’re creating something from nothing and you see it blossom, it’s such an exhilarating thing.”

Over the years, she has garnered many accolades for her success in galvanizing community and financial support, assembling a devoted Board of Trustees and in laying the foundation for an unparalleled development program. Miami City Ballet today is an internationally acclaimed company with a growing reputation as a cradle of creativity for young dancers and choreographers.

“Toby’s contribution to Miami’s arts world is immeasurable,” said Lourdes Lopez, Artistic Director of MCB. “Miami City Ballet stands today as a monument to her vision, her tenacity, and her absolute determination to transform South Florida’s arts ecology into the vibrant, dynamic community it is today.”

Ansin is among four dance professionals being honored at the Dance/USA Annual Conference, which is the country’s broadest gathering of dance professionals, including executive directors, artistic directors, development directors, agents, artists, emerging arts leaders, company managers, marketing directors and dance service organizations.

Her other achievements include: the James W. McLamore Outstanding Volunteer of the Year from the Association of Fundraising Professionals; the Arts Hero Award from the Arts & Business Council of Miami; the PODER Magazine-Boston Consulting Group Business Award; the Florida International Press Club Imprint Award; and the Woman of Style and Substance Award.

“During my short tenure here at Miami City Ballet I have had the distinct pleasure of getting to know Toby and in doing so, I’ve come to appreciate how special she is,” said Michael Scolamiero, Executive Director of MCB. “While her generosity is legendary, she is also a woman of great energy, passion and wonderful ideas. I can honestly say Miami City Ballet would not be here today were it not for this remarkable woman.”