Top Contemporary Dance Companies Coming Together For Sold Out Suicide Awareness Benefit

Friday, February 14, 2020 Mental Health News
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Curated by Gerald Appelstein, featuring 11 dance companies/54 dancers and a performance by Phantom of the Opera Alumn Jeff Keller; all proceeds benefitting the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

NEW YORK, Feb. 13, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- The feeling of losing a loved one, particularly a child – regardless of how that person leaves this earth – has an everlasting impact on those who survive; the irreplaceable loss challenges survivors in ways they never thought possible.

In Gerald Appelstein's case, it took many years of reflection for the Manhattan and Mahwah, NJ-based philanthropist to determine the optimal way of celebrating the life of his late son, Jason, who lost his mental health and drug addiction battle to suicide 12 years ago. In collaboration with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Mr. Appelstein will host the first annual "Tribute to Jason" (and too many others lost to suicide) program, which will take place on March 14 at the New York Live Arts Theatre. The event will aim to raise suicide awareness while celebrating the beauty of life through numerous special dance performances.

"The whole point of the evening is to save a life," says Mr. Appelstein regarding his upcoming fundraiser that has already sold out the 184-seat venue. "If we can save just one life, or if we can ease the pain of those who've had to endure from the loss of one, then we have accomplished all we can hope for."

The AFSP's New York City Chapter Area Director Amy Monahan has expressed her pride in partnering with the "Tribute to Jason" benefit as it aligns with "our mission to save lives and bring hope to those affected by suicide," she says. Five to six suicide deaths occur in the United States every hour, about the same horrific rate of those we are losing in the opioid crisis. Monahan says the organization's important work "would not be possible without events like this. We are thrilled to partner with NYC's thriving Arts community. Together we can create a world without suicide."

The evening of commemorate events will feature choreography by a myriad of renowned dance companies, including Complexions, Parsons Dance, BalletX and Buglisi Dance Theater, Alison Cook Beatty Dance and rising choreographer Alison Machabee's rendition of Jerry's original song, "If I Had One More Day," among many other performances.

"Dance is such a transformational art; the form and the beauty of it and the combination of movement with music can be so spiritually captivating and emotionally engaging," says Appelstein of the upcoming sold out event.

For those interested in donating to the AFSP, visit

Contact: Elizabeth Kobak,


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SOURCE American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

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