"Raising The Barre: The Homer Bryant Story"

Produced and Directed by Emmy Award-winning producer Terry Spencer Hesser, "Raising the Barre" is a 30-minute documentary film that follows Homer Hans Bryant's career with a special focus on the school he built and has operated since 1990, the Chicago Multi-Cultural Dance Center (CMDC) cmdcschool.com.

The benefit event and screening will be held on Wednesday, October 21, 2009 at the Gene Siskel Film Center, 164 N. State St. It is chaired by Melissa Sage Fadim and underwritten by Sage Foundation. Beginning at 5:30 p.m. guests will be treated to cocktails, hors d'oeuvres and a buffet dinner catered by Food For Thought, which will be followed by a 7:30 p.m. screening of "Raising the Barre." Guests will meet Homer and his CMDC students and learn about CMDC's plans for continued growth.

CMDC has been serving Chicago's African-American and broader communities with ballet performance and dance instruction for more than 17 years under the leadership of its Founder and Artistic Director Homer Hans Bryant. He has sought to reach out to underserved children in Chicago so that young people of all races and socio-economic backgrounds would have a "chance to dance."

Bryant's rigorous and disciplined training style has launched professional careers that have broken new ground for African-Americans in ballet. In addition to careers in dance, CMDC alums have attended prestigious universities such as Northwestern, Wellesley, Syracuse, New York University, and the University of Chicago, and have pursued careers as diverse as medicine, law and broadcast communications. CMDC strives to make its year-round training programs available to dancers from all of Chicago's neighborhoods, particularly those from underserved communities. CMDC is located in historic Dearborn Station, 47 W. Polk St.

Individual tickets to the event are $125, with a special dance industry rate of $75. All ticket donations will benefit the operational needs of CMDC, including scholarship assistance, programming and facility expansion plans. For more information on the benefit event call 773.327.3830 x109 or visit cmdcschool.com.

Homer Hans Bryant is a former principal dancer with the renowned Dance Theatre of Harlem where he also served as director of the Workshop Ensemble. His professional performing credits include "Timbuktu" with Eartha Kitt and "The Wiz" with Michael Jackson and Diana Ross. He has been a guest teacher and trainer for United States ice dance medalists and Olympic contenders Melissa Gregory and Denis Petukhov, Canada's mesmerizing Cirque Du Soleil, and the Royal Winnipeg Ballet. He is the recipient of the Chicago Cultural Alliance's 2007 Lifetime Achievement Award and was recognized nationally in the Who's Who in Dance Heritage Registry.

Bryant is artistic director of the Chicago Multi-Cultural Dance Center, located in Chicago's South Loop in historic Dearborn Station. He also currently serves as a ballet master for the Giordano Junior Youth Performing Groups and assistant artistic director for Giordano Jazz Dance Chicago. Known as a strict disciplinarian, his slogan "The Fun is in the Discipline, The Discipline is in the Fun" has established Bryant as one of the most respected teachers in the country.

Terry Spencer Hesser is a published novelist and biographer, produced playwright, award-winning screenwriter, multiple-Emmy award-winning scriptwriter, and has worked with people as diverse as Audrey Hepburn, Oprah Winfrey, and R. Kelly. Her screenplay "Till Death Do Us Part" won first place in the Christopher Columbus writing competition and was developed by New Line Cinema. Her first novel, "Kissing Doorknobs," was an American Library Association top ten pick and has been translated into four languages. Her work on "Protect Yourself," a national one hour special teaching inner city fifth graders about AIDS, won the PBS Gold-Award. Hesser is currently producing a series with Melissa Sage Fadim on "Islands Without Cars," which features places out of time and portals into the past brimming with stories about life that have little to do with the modern world.

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