The gala usually raises about $70,000. About $30,000 goes to grant programs, while the balance helps support outreach such as Head Start artists in education programs and the Fabulous 50+ Players, a musical program for seniors.
The four-hour, black-tie-optional event draws 700 to 800 people. It kicks off with a reception and silent auction of 80 works of art. About 24 restaurants in Howard County and nearby areas donate food.
Changing entertainment features local artists or arts groups performing on the Main Street Stage from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. during the reception. This year, the gala will present a "Rising Star" competition at 8 p.m.
The council auditioned performers ages 18 to 35 for the competition. The nine finalists will perform onstage and the audience will select the winner, who will be awarded a $5,000 professional development grant.
Dance Hua Sha Chinese Dance Center Information: Xiao Fang Xu, director, 410-381-0270 or www. huashadance.org.
For a sample of Asian culture, go no farther than the Hua Sha Chinese Dance Center. Based in Columbia, the center includes a dance school and a performing arts troupe.
Classes are taught at Atholton High School, the east Columbia library and the Ballet Academy in Beltsville. Hua Sha, which means Chinese, was founded in 1996 by Xiao Fang Xu, the center's director and choreographer, who has danced for more than 40 years.
Born in Shanghai, Xu trained at the Shanghai Dance School in China, specializing in ballet, Chinese classical and folk dance. She danced in 15 countries for the Arts Delegation of China and was one of the dancers who welcomed President Richard M. Nixon during his first state visit to China.
In 1985, Xu attended Ohio State University as a visiting scholar and taught at Brigham Young University, then settled in Columbia in 1993.
The touring company has performed at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, Walters Art Museum and Artscape in Baltimore, the Dance Festival sponsored by the Maryland Council for the Arts, the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, the Columbia Festival of the Arts and at Asian Pacific festivals.
The company often appears at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda for the Asian Heritage Festival. It will offer a program of Chinese dance and music at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 15 at the Jim Rouse Theatre.
Eva Anderson Dancers LTD Studio is at Howard County Center for the Arts, 8510 High Ridge Road, Ellicott City, and office is at 5452 High Tor Hill, Columbia, 21045. Information: 410-997-3899.
Eva Anderson Dancers LTD is a regional company that has performed throughout the state, nationally and internationally.
The company incorporates classical modern, classical ballet and classical African-American dance in its works. Modern and ballroom dancing are also taught to the public.
The company has received numerous awards for excellence from many organizations, including the Maryland State Arts Council, Abell Foundation, Choice Hotels International, and Bell Atlantic Foundation.
Founded in 1974 as the Baltimore Dance Theater under the auspices of a neighborhood parents club, it was an after-school program for inner-city youth at Dunbar High School in Baltimore.
After the company incorporated as a nonprofit group in 1980, Anderson became director.
In residence at the Howard County Center for the Arts in Ellicott City, the company established an annual season of six to eight concerts that are performed at the Baltimore Museum of Art and Jim Rouse Theatre. The repertoire includes choreography by Anderson and dance artists Rod Rogers, Eleo Pamare, Elizabeth Keen, Yuli Vazouif, Blondell Cummings and Lourdes Bastos.
The company also performs commissioned works by renowned composers. The group has toured in Virginia, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New York, Ohio, Arkansas, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Germany, Austria and Italy. The 31st season of the company will begin with a performance at 4 p.m. April 10 at the Jim Rouse Theatre.
Tickets are $15. Group discounts are available. Howard County Ballet 3240 Corporate Court, Suite E, Ellicott City. Information: 410-465-8233, or www.howard countyballet.org.
The Howard County Ballet was established in 1995, and is a nonprofit regional ballet organization that offers performing and master class opportunities for youth and adult dancers. Performances include guest artists and students. The company conducts open auditions for dancers in the Baltimore-Washington area.
Based at Aesthetics dance studio, the ballet performs one winter and one spring production each year, plus a children's concert in the fall. The spring production in 2005 will be Hansel and Gretel at the Jim Rouse Theatre in Wilde Lake on May 21 and 22.