The Ridgefield Conservatory of Dance Honors Founding President Howard Turner at the September 10 Gala


Ridgefield Conservatory of Dance Gala: An Evening of Special Performances in Honor of Howard Turner

On Saturday evening, September 10, 2022, the Ridgefield Conservatory of Dance (RCD) will host the Monte Carlo Night Gala and honor the founding president of the non-profit dance studio for over 20 years, Howard Turner.

The RCD became the dance studio we all know and love today under Howard’s steady hand and confident reach: the large-window presence on Main Street RCD is known for, with a view for all to enjoy en pointe dancers or the smallest beginners; a faculty of world-class dancers led by RCD Executive Director Amy Piantaggini; from partnerships forged in our tight-knit community, from educational friendships with SPHERE to performances at iconic venues across the city, The Aldrich, Founders Hall and our signature Nutcracker each year with The Ridgefield Playhouse.

“We invite everyone to join us in celebrating Howard, dance and education on this special evening,” said RCD Executive Director Amy Piantaggini. “Howard Turner has played many roles for me since he gave me the leadership a decade ago. He taught me a lot about the business side of the arts as a mentor. He was a strong leader from whom he learned and since his retirement I am happy and honored to call him a friend.

“It has been a great joy to help build and grow The Conservatory,” said Turner. “What a privilege to work over the years with inspiring and tireless directors, talented world-class faculty and our dedicated Board of Trustees to create something lasting in arts education that changes the lives of students – whether they continue to dance professionally or bring the discipline and spirit of dance to all kinds of activities.

RCD was originally The Patricia Schuster Dance Studio, founded by Patricia Schuster in 1965. When Mrs. Schuster died in 1999, Howard and Jane Turner, inspired by their daughter Cory, joined a few Ridgefield families to ensure that Ms. Schuster’s mission and vision to bring dance to the New York City level in the Ridgefield area would continue and even thrive. With Howard Turner as president, the studio was transformed into the nationally recognized non-profit Ridgefield Conservatory of Dance, which it is today with many defining milestones along the way.

Under Howard’s leadership and efforts, RCD achieved 501c3 status in 2003, making it the only non-profit dance studio in North Fairfield County. In 2011, RCD made the leap to its current location on Main Street, renovating the former GAP location into a state-of-the-art dance studio with three beautiful studios, parent and student lounges, locker rooms, and more. The three large studios open up to a large gallery space and can transform into a beautiful black box theater.

In 2000, Howard and the board brought the husband-and-wife team of James Robey and Melissa Gerth to RCD, with James as executive/artistic director and Melissa as assistant. Director for over a successful decade, establishing the conscious dance culture that RCD enjoys today. James had just finished his work with the NYC Metropolitan Ballet Company when he joined the RCD. He is now President and Assoc. Dance teacher at Radford University.

In 2014, Howard and the board tapped Amy Piantaggini, a veteran dancer and educator who trained at the Boston Conservatory and performed as a member of the Martha Graham Dance Company and Ensemble, to direct the RCD as current executive director. In this role, Amy not only leads an outstanding faculty, but has also become a force in the role the arts can play at Ridgefield and beyond.

Please join the Ridgefield Conservatory of Dance (RCD) in honoring the incredible Howard Turner, founding president of the non-profit dance studio for over 20 years, at the RCD’s upcoming “Monte Carlo Night” gala on Saturday, September 10 from 6:30 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.

The special evening will feature dance performances by Kelly Gleason and Amy Piantaggini as well as dancers from the Civic II student company and includes dinner, dancing (of course!) and an impressive silent auction.

Buy your tickets ($50) HERE.



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