Join Dance/USA in recognizing this year's Ernie Award (named for the late Ian “Ernie” Horvath) recipient Verdery Roosevelt.
"I came to the world of dance by luck, when Ballet Hispanico took a chance on a young arts administration grad with a background in music and theater. I was even more fortunate that Tina Ramirez believed deeply in the value of constant education. I was encouraged to learn – about the challenge of training dancers, the confidence needed to commission new work, the value of dance in the classroom, the variety of techniques, and the standards that inform a professional performance. As a consequence, my career has been filled with indelible images of dance on stage and the joy of knowing that I helped make them happen. Luck, indeed!"
- Verdery Roosevelt
Verdery Roosevelt joined the staff of Ballet Hispanico in 1978, and became executive director a year later. In partnership with Founder Tina Ramirez, she was responsible for the growth of the nation's preeminent Hispanic dance company and school from a community-based organization into a nationally recognized cultural institution. During her tenure with Ballet Hispanico, she oversaw the production of more than 50 new works for the company’s repertory, working with internationally renowned choreographers and designers to realize Ramirez’s vision. Under her direction, scholarship support for the Ballet Hispanico School has grown to over $100,000 annually, while Ballet Hispanico’s educational program, Primeros Pasos, has expanded to serve over 25,000 students around the country each year. In addition, she oversaw the purchase and dramatic expansion of Ballet Hispanico's headquarters on Manhattan's Upper West Side, as well as the establishment of working capital and endowment funds. Ms. Roosevelt served on the Board of Directors for Dance/USA, where she was Chairman from 1996 to 1998. She has been a guest speaker at various seminars and arts administration programs, including, the Kennedy Center’s Vilar Symposium, the Yale School of Drama and the Bolz Center for Arts Administration at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She has also served as a panelist for national, state and local arts agencies. Ms. Roosevelt was recognized for her civic leadership with a “Pacesetter Award” from Councilwoman Gale A. Brewer at New York’s City Hall in 2004. She received the Arts Management Career Service Award in 2000 and a 1981 Management Achievement Award from ACUCAA, now APAP. Prior to her work at Ballet Hispanico, she was on the development staff for Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Inc. A native of Birmingham, Alabama, she graduated from the University of Alabama and received her Masters in Business/Arts Administration from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is currently the Senior Vice President of Program & Nonprofit Investments at Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone.
In the words of her presenter:Verdery through the years:
"Verdery, my friend and admire colleague is a uniquely talented woman
who combines a rare sensitivity for Artists with a passion for the arts,
For over 30 years she was at my side applying her extraordinary skill,
intelligence, integrity professionalism and positive spirit to help
Ballet Hispanico thrive and grow. She is truly “an unsung hero”
- Tina Ramirez