Marcia Gay Harden — Academy and Tony Award Winner

Award-winning actress Marcia Gay Harden is thrilled to provide artistic advice to the BALLROOM BASIX™ program. A remarkable actress of stage and screen, she always stays true to her chameleon style of “becoming the character.” Her character portraits have been described by critics as “searing”, “heartbreaking”, “inventive”, “pure and profane simultaneously”,  “astonishing”, “authentic”, and “sensuous”. From the glamorous Ava Gardner in Sinatra, to the artist Lee Krasner in Pollock (for which she won Best Supporting Actress Oscar), to the down and out Celeste in Mystic River (another Academy Award© nomination) Marcia has created a signature style based in character transformation.  Her versatility and wide–range have been praised in such films as Millers Crossing, The First Wives Club, Meet Joe Black, Mona Lisa Smile, The Hoax, and Used People.

Marcia has chosen a life away from mainstream Hollywood, crossing between independent and studio films, and television and theatre. She recently garnered a Best Actress Tony Award© for her starring role in the Tony Award© winning Broadway play God of Carnage. Her nominated co-stars in the play included James Gandolfini, Hope Davis and Jeff Daniels. Additionally, she received an Outer Circle Critics Award for her performance, as well as nominations from the Drama Desk and Drama League.  She was also recently nominated for an Emmy© Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or Movie for her role in The Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler. Other nominations include a Tony© nomination for Tony Kushner’s Angels in America (for which she won the Drama Desk and Theatre World Awards), an Emmy© nomination for her guest appearance on Law and Order: SVU, also an Independent Spirit Award nomination for American Gun.

 
Marcia Gay Harden doing a tango on the set
of Mona Lisa Smile with BALLROOM BASIX
Artistic Director Sid Grant.

Marcia’s most recent films include Drew Barrymore’s directorial debut Whip It, in which her daughter Eulala Scheel had a co-starring role, The Maiden Heist with William H. Macy, Morgan Freeman, and Christopher Walken, Canvas, Rails and Ties, Stephen King’s The Mist (for which she won a Saturn Award,) Sean Penn’s Into the Wild, and The Christmas Cottage with Peter O’Toole. On the television front Marcia co-starred in the critically acclaimed FX drama Damages opposite William Hurt and Glenn Close. Up next, Marcia can be seen starring in If I Were You, with Aidan Quinn and Valerie Mahaffey.

Marcia graduated from the University of Texas with a B.A. in Theatre and an MFA from the Graduate Acting program at New York University. She resides in Harlem near PS 180, the pilot school for the BALLROOM BASIX™ program. As the keynote speaker at their 8th grade graduation ceremony in Spring 2010, Marcia has seen first-hand the enormity of benefits that this dynamic program provides inner city youth.

 

Dr. Peter McFarlane — Educational Liaison

Our educational liaison Dr. Peter McFarlane is the principal of Hugo Newman Preparatory School in Harlem, where BALLROOM BASIX™ has its headquarters. “Dr. Mac,” as he is fondly known, hosted the three-year development of Sid Grant’s program in his middle school, where it was the most popular activity among his junior high-school students. He is championing the expansion of these vital residencies throughout Harlem’s middle schools, and his interview is found on our website’s BALLROOM BASIX™ TV!

Dr. McFarlane was honored by the New York City Department of Education as an outstanding educator representing his school district as the “Principal of the Year.” He received the Harlem Chamber of Commerce Outstanding Principal’s Award as well as the Cahn Fellowship as an Outstanding New York City Principal. To read more about his illustrious achievements as one of New York City’s exemplary educators, look for his bio on our website.


 

Patricia Ann Rubens — Educational Consultant

Ms. Rubens has worked extensively in the fields of education and the arts as both teacher and administrator at the elementary, secondary and college levels.  As an artistic consultant, she has had the unique pleasure of working in theatres affiliated with Southern Illinois University, Ripon College, the University of Washington School of Drama, Belfry Theatre, Cornell University and William Paterson College. 

Having a bachelors degree in Education and a Masters degree in Theatre and Speech, Patricia-Ann has designed and implemented language arts programming in public schools in Washington, New York and New Jersey. She was also the Director of Programming for Children's Theatre at the Community Arts Center in Ripon, Wisconsin, the Director of Education for the Inner City Ensemble Theatre and Dance Company in Paterson, NJ and Public Relations Administrator for the Theatre Department of William Paterson University.

In recent years, Ms. Rubens was honored for her work with survivors of breast cancer.  Her art work was selected to be exhibited as part of the juried art show On Borrowed Time: Translations of Life with Breast Cancer under the sponsorship of New Mexico's First Lady and presented in the Governor's Gallery in Santa Fe, New Mexico.  Subsequently, she  became the creator, director and producer of the touring Reader's Theatre On Borrowed Time: Creativity and Healing which presented and explored the vital relationship between creativity and the healing process: the transformative power of art. 

She was honored by the People Living Through Cancer organization of Albuquerque, NM, recognized by the Susan G. Komen Foundation and received the Distinguished Alumni Award for Humanitarian Service by her undergraduate alma mater, National-Louis University in Evanston, Illinois (formerly the National College of Education). Having dedicated a lifetime to excellence in education and the arts, it is with great pleasure that Ms. Rubens helps Ballroom Basix to continue expanding with an educationally enriching arts experience.

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