Los Angeles, CA (Top40 Charts/ ROGERS & COWAN) - Nigel Lythgoe announced today that he is teaming up with director Adam Shankman, "Dancing with the Stars" judge Carrie Ann Inaba and actress Katie Holmes to launch the Dizzy Feet Foundation, a foundation for the dance community that will provide scholarships and assistance to talented underserved youth to help them realize their dreams of becoming professional dancers and will also help elevate and standardize dance instruction nationwide.
The milestone 100th episode of "So You Think You Can Dance," airing Thursday, July 23 (9:00-10:00 PM ET live/PT tape-delayed) on FOX, will feature a special performance by Dizzy Feet Foundation founding member Katie Holmes that will help introduce the foundation to the public. Directed and choreographed by Tyce Diorio in collaboration with director of photography Dion Beebe, Holmes' highly anticipated performance will be an homage to Judy Garland and will feature Holmes dancing to and singing Garland's classic, "Get Happy," from the musical "Summer Stock."
"I think it's important for children to experience music and dance," said Holmes. "Every child should have the opportunity to discover what it is they like and have access to the very best in that pursuit."
Harnessing the power of the millions of viewers who watch "So You Think You Can Dance," as well as the growing popularity of dance in the United States, the Dizzy Feet Foundation will create awareness about the positive impact that dance - and creative pursuits in general - can have on the growth and development of our nation's youth.
The Dizzy Feet Foundation's mission is threefold: (1) to provide scholarships and grants to talented dancers, choreographers and/or teachers working at or through accredited dance studios; (2) to establish national standards for dance education and an accreditation program for dance; (3) to develop, provide and support dance education programs for underserved children by working through and with community organizations.
The Dizzy Feet Foundation also aims to elevate and standardize the quality of dance instruction throughout the United States by offering accreditation and/or certification to dance schools and studios in most styles of dance, including ballroom, contemporary, ballet, tap, jazz and hip hop. Dizzy Feet Foundation's Accreditation Program will set the gold standard of dance instruction in the United States and ensure that students can feel confident that they are receiving high-quality dance instruction aligned to a national standard.
"Directing and producing is what I do, but dancing is what I am. That's why the foundation is so important to me," noted founding member Adam Shankman. "Dizzy Feet will empower disadvantaged and at-risk students by giving them access to the highest quality arts education."
Furthermore, Dizzy Feet Foundation founding members agree it is imperative that Los Angeles have a major dance academy.
"If we're not going to have dance in our schools, we need to create additional opportunities to bring dance to our youth," said founding member Carrie Ann Inaba. "And I think the Dizzy Feet Foundation will be doing exactly that."
"Making 'Idol Gives Back' was a rewarding undertaking that changed my life forever," explained Lythgoe. "It taught me to 'give back.' I have been a dancer, and involved in the dance world, for nearly 50 years - it's my passion. I feel very grateful to be in a position where I can now give back to the dance community. Thanks to the huge support, enthusiasm and energy of Adam, Carrie Ann and Katie, as well as the rest of the board, it has finally become a reality."
Since 1993, when legislators imposed revenue caps on public schools, school districts have been forced to make difficult and painful spending cuts. Typically, music and arts programs have been among the first to suffer severe blows. More than 15 years later, the decimation of music and arts programs continues.
"The financial crisis that the whole world is compromised by is affecting the arts big time," said Dizzy Feet Foundation Steering Committee member Debbie Allen. "We're on life support right now because it's the first thing that gets slashed."
The Dizzy Feet Foundation will have the benefit of an Honorary Board, on which 19 Entertainment CEO Simon Fuller, among others, will serve, as well as a Steering Committee consisting of some of the most illustrious names in the American dance and entertainment communities, including Paula Abdul, Jennifer Lopez, Miley Cyrus, Mia Michaels, Mary Murphy, Debbie Allen, Shane Sparks and Lil C. The affiliation of additional Steering Committee members will be confirmed through nominations by the founding members. Members of the Steering Committee are responsible for selecting Dizzy Feet Foundation scholarship recipients and following their journeys.
The Dizzy Feet Foundation will also sponsor, fund and/or offer community-based dance programs that will expose kids in low-income areas to the lifelong benefits of dance education.
Through www.dizzyfeetfoundation.org, supporters have the opportunity to follow their contribution, as well as track the progress of the foundation's work and the scholarship recipients' journeys.
In order to further its mission, Dizzy Feet accepts tax-deductible contributions from corporations, patrons, supporters and dance fans and raises additional funds through direct solicitations, fundraisers and other events. Dizzy Feet Foundation is a nonprofit, tax-exempt 501(c)(3) charitable organization (Federal Tax ID Number: 26-4501295).
NIGEL LYTHGOE is co-founder of Big Red 2 Entertainment, a newly formed company with CEO of 19 Entertainment, Simon Fuller. Lythgoe most recently served as president of 19 Television, and prior to his tenure there, worked at London Weekend Television, where he was Controller of Entertainment and Comedy. Lythgoe is co-creator and executive producer of the Emmy Award-winning series "So You Think You Can Dance." His other executive producer/co-creator credits include seven seasons of "American Idol," as well as "Superstars of Dance." "American Idol" has been nominated for 39 Emmy Awards, and in 2007, received the prestigious Governors Award, the Television Academy's highest honor, for "Idol Gives Back," which he executive-produced. Lythgoe also served as producer and director of the acclaimed Céline Dion/Elvis Presley duet featured in the special.
ADAM SHANKMAN is an American film director, dancer, and choreographer. He has been a judge on "So You Think You Can Dance" since the show's third season. He began his professional career in musical theater, and was a dancer in music videos for Paula Abdul and Janet Jackson. Shankman has directed several feature-length films, including "The Wedding Planner," "Hairspray" and "Bedtime Stories." His upcoming projects include "Sinbad," "Bob: The Musical" and "Bye Bye Birdie." In addition to directing, Shankman and his sister, Jennifer Gibgot, produce films through their shingle, Offspring Entertainment. He attended the Juilliard School.
CARRIE ANN INABA is an American dancer, veteran choreographer, actress and television host. She has appeared as one of three judges on "Dancing with the Stars," the show that pairs celebrities with professional dancers as they train and then compete in front of a studio audience, as well as in "Dance Wars: Bruno vs. Carrie Ann," where she choreographed and directed her team toward making their music and dance dreams come true. Inaba's credits include touring with Madonna, appearing in films such as "Austin Powers III: Goldmember," choreographing for top television shows, including "American Idol," "TV Land Awards," "Kids' Choice Awards," "Dance Fever" and "So You Think You Can Dance," in addition to hosting the "American Music Awards Red Carpet Live!" She began her career as one of the Fly Girls on "In Living Color," a series that broke boundaries and brought Hip Hop into the mainstream. Inaba is currently launching the go-to online dance community, thedanceinsider.com, with her production company, IC Entertainment.
KATIE HOLMES has appeared in films ranging from the action blockbuster "Batman Begins" directed by Christopher Nolan to critically acclaimed art-house pictures, including Ang Lee's "The Ice Storm" and Peter Hedges' "Pieces of April." Holmes is about to start filming "Don't Be Afraid of the Dark." The film will be produced by Guillermo del Toro, and Holmes will star opposite Guy Pearce. She most recently completed filming "The Extra Man" opposite Kevin Kline, and made her Broadway debut in Arthur Miller's "All My Sons." Holmes has worked with some of Hollywood's most prominent and talented directors. Her credits include "Wonder Boys" directed by Curtis Hanson, "Thank You for Smoking" directed by Jason Reitman, "The Gift" directed by Sam Raimi, "Abandon" directed by Stephen Gaghan, "Go" directed by Doug Liman, "Phone Booth" directed by Joel Schumacher, "The Singing Detective" directed by Keith Gordon, "First Daughter" directed by Forest Whitaker, "Teaching Mrs. Tingle" directed by Kevin Williamson and "Disturbing Behavior" directed by David Nutter. Born and raised in Toledo, Ohio, Holmes began acting in high school theater productions. While attending a national modeling and talent convention in New York, Holmes was encouraged to come to Los Angeles for pilot season auditions. While in Los Angeles, she landed the role as Libbets Casey opposite Tobey Maguire and Sigourney Weaver in Lee's award-winning drama "The Ice Storm." A year later she was cast as Joey Potter on the TV series "Dawson's Creek" opposite James Van Der Beek and Michelle Williams. The show quickly became one of the highest-rated series on television, averaging five million viewers per week throughout its six-season run.