Palm Beach Cultural Philanthropist Anka Palitz to be Honored at 10th Anniversary Heart & Soul Gala at The Breakers on March 14


Palm Beach Cultural Philanthropist Anka Palitz to be Honored at 10th Anniversary Heart & Soul Gala at The Breakers on March 14

Benefit for Career Transition For Dancers, A Program of The Actors Fund, will also Honor Ethan Stiefel & Gillian Murphy from American Ballet Theatre

Gala Co-Chairs are Lois Pope & Theodora Aspegren

(Palm Beach, FL – January 10, 2019) The Actors Fund, a national human services organization that has served all professionals in the entertainment industry since 1882, today announced that it will honor Palm Beach cultural philanthropistAnka Palitz, along with Ethan Stiefel, principal guest instructor at American Ballet Theatre, and ABT principal dancer Gillian Murphy, at the 10th anniversary Heart & Soul Gala. Not only was Ethan Stiefel the first individual dancer supported by Mrs. Palitz, he and fellow honoree Gillian Murphy are married and expecting their first child.

A benefit for Career Transition For Dancers, a Program of The Actors Fund, the glamorous Heart & Soul Gala is  scheduled for Thursday, March 14, at 7 pm, at The Breakers in Palm Beach. The 10th annual event will  include celebratory cocktails, gourmet dinner, a live auction by Neil Saffer, and extraordinary performances by Ballet Palm BeachBoca Ballet, and Dance Town USA. Music will be provided by the incredible Alex Donner Orchestra.

Tickets are $650 per person and sponsorship opportunities are available. To RSVP or for more information, please call 561.502.3486.

Heart & Soul Gala Honorees 2019

Anka Palitz

Palm Beach cultural patron Anka K. Palitz has been a generous and tireless supporter of dancers for decades, both during and after their dance careers. After a successful life in the fashion and cosmetics industry, where she held executive positions at Revlon and was later CEO and owner of Decart Designs, Mrs. Palitz has dedicated her life to helping dance companies and professional dancers.

A Board member of American Ballet Theatre for more than 25 years, she also helped to formulate and served as a Board Member of Career Transition For Dancers (CTFD). As a program of The Fund, CTFD continues to enable dancers to define career possibilities and hone the skills necessary to excel in a variety of disciplines, thus supporting them in developing rewarding post-performance careers. Mrs. Palitz serves as National Ambassador Vice-Chair of The Actors Fund.

As public arts financing has dwindled, Mrs. Palitz began sponsoring individual dancers in honor of her late husband Clarence Y. Palitz. Her first named dancer was Ethan Stiefel, who went on to become Dean of the School of Dance at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts and is currently serving as Principal Guest Instructor at ABT. She was also instrumental in developing ABT’s Healthy Dancer Curriculum, a program for the development and training of young students that embraces sound ballet principles in collaboration with artistic advisors and a medical advisory board. In the state of Florida, ABT holds National Training Curriculum seminars, and through its annual audition tour and summer training programs, serving approximately 200 young dancers statewide every year.

A Benefactor at The Society for the Four Arts in Palm Beach, the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Norton Museum of Art, the Metropolitan Opera, and a past supporter of The Frick Collection and the Whitney Museum of American Art, Mrs. Palitz also has served as Board Director of 184 Bradley Place, and has been an avid supporter of Palm Beach Opera, Ballet Palm Beach, Palm Beach Symphony and many other organizations. Ten years ago, she started the Heart and Soul Gala to benefit CTFD. In Florida alone, more than 90 dancer/clients have received help and scholarships. Mrs. Palitz remains dedicated to bringing awareness of this important organization to Palm Beach and the world. She also continues to support the education of all dancers – from their beginning instruction through transition to their next career after dance.

Ethan Stiefel

Currently the Principal Guest Instructor at American Ballet Theatre. Ethan Stiefel is an internationally renowned dancer, coach, director and choreographer who previously served as Artistic Director of the Royal New Zealand Ballet and, earlier, Dean of the School of Dance at the University of North Carolina School of Arts. He began his career at age 16 with the New York City Ballet where he quickly rose to the rank of Principal Dancer, the same position he later held with the Zürich Ballet and ABT. Stiefel performed leading roles in all of the full-length classics and danced in works created by major choreographers, with guest appearances with leading companies worldwide. He starred in the feature film Center Stage and its sequels, and has worked as a choreographer and guest teacher for many institutions including the Paris Opera Ballet, The National Ballet of Canada, Dance Theatre of Harlem, ABT’s Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School, The School of American Ballet, and more.

Gillian Murphy

Currently a Principal Dancer with American Ballet Theatre, Gillian Murphy has dance lead roles in all of ABT’s current full-length classics and in shorter works by George Balanchine, Jerome Robbins, Jiri Kylian, Antony Tudor, William Forsythe, Martha Graham, Lar Lubovitch, Paul Taylor, Frederick Ashton and Agnes de Mille. She has danced as a guest artist throughout the world, performing with the Mariinsky Ballet, the Royal Swedish Ballet, the Staatsballett Berlin, the Kiev Ballet, the Australian Ballet, as a ballerina with the Metropolitan Opera, and in numerous other international engagements and galas. Murphy also has taught master classes in Tokyo, Indianapolis, Winston-Salem, and San Diego as well as classes in New York City for Dance Theatre of Harlem, ABT’s Studio Company, and dancers of the Metropolitan Opera. In 2009, she was the recipient of a Princess Grace Statue Award, the organization’s highest honor.

The Chairs for the upcoming Heart & Soul Gala are Lois Pope, a patron of numerous medical, cultural, environmental and public service endeavors, and Theodora Aspegren, a real estate investor who serves on the West Palm Beach Historic Planning Board and recently joined the board of directors of Ballet Palm Beach.

About The Actors Fund:

The Actors Fund is a national human services organization that fosters stability and resiliency, and provides a safety net for performing arts and entertainment professionals over their lifespan. Through offices in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, The Fund serves everyone in film, television, music, opera, radio and dance with programs including social services and emergency financial assistance, health care and insurance counseling, housing, and secondary employment and training services. Visit

About Career Transition For Dancers, a Program of The Actors Fund:

Career Transition For Dancers is a program of The Actors Fund that enables dancers to define their career possibilities and develop the skills necessary to excel in a variety of disciplines outside of dance. The program offers career counseling and guidance, scholarships and grants, individual and group counseling services, referrals for health care and health insurance and, where eligible, access to emergency financial assistance. Visit