PS21 to host a series of performances as part of the 21st Annual Equine Advocates Rescue and Sanctuary Gala

Jasmine and Melanie, two residents of Equine Advocates Rescue and Sanctuary. Photo by Wendy Braun.

Chatham – Horses and the Hudson Valley go hand in hand, a regional pairing on par with cider and donuts in the fall in these regions, and Horse Defenders The 21st Annual Gala promises to be one of Upstate New York’s most anticipated events this season. On Sunday September 18, Ailey II, the second company of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, founded in 1974 by the eponymous American choreographer, will perform live at PS21: performance spaces for the 21st century. Among the dances presented in the open-air pavilion will be “Revelations”, the unmissable masterpiece of Alvin Aley itself (seen by more people around the world than any other work of modern dance in history), performed by dancers on two feet for the benefit of those who walk on four, namely the 80 horses, ponies, donkeys and mules that live at the equine sanctuary and others that need to be rescued.

“Alvin Ailey was a genius whose legacy lives on in the more than 100 ballets he created and the dance companies he founded,” said Susan Wagner, President and Founder of Equine Advocates. “We are so honored to have this company come to Chatham and share with our audience the passion, joy and excitement that their dancers bring to every performance… [i]It’s going to be an amazing and unforgettable night.”

President and Founder of Equine Advocates Susan Wagner. Photo via the association’s website.

Equine Advocates, the national nonprofit horse welfare organization, was founded in 1996; in 2004, a 140-acre equine sanctuary for neglected, abused, and slaughter-bound equines was established in Chatham and serves as the non-profit’s current base of operations. Among its countless accolades, Equine Advocates is the recipient of Charity Navigator’s highest 4-star charitable rating, as well as Guide Star’s Transparency Seal; additionally, it is accredited by the World Federation of Animal Sanctuaries, the American Sanctuary Association, and the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance.

Today, Equine Advocates Rescue and Sanctuary is a haven for horses. “It’s an equine village where the horses live out their lives in a natural environment that allows them to socialize with each other,” Wagner said, nodding to her inaugural inspiration: Gandalf, the very first horse she ever had. rescued from the slaughterhouse, died in 2003 before the non-profit organization moved to Chatham.

“Although he has not made it to the sanctuary, he is here with us every day in spirit and continues to inspire us all and the other wonderful equines we have come to know over the years,” said Wagner who in the decades since saved thousands of equines, including horses, ponies, donkeys and mules, from slaughter, abuse and neglect with the help from its small, energetic and compassionate staff.

Fundraising is not only an integral part of supporting Equine Advocates’ mission (rescuing abused and neglected equines and giving them new lives, as well as raising awareness of equine issues), but it also remains essential to sustaining operations throughout throughout the year. Since the start of 2022, the nonprofit has brought four new rescued equine residents to the sanctuary, including Sergeant York – a retired military work horse from the U.S. Army Caisson Platoon – who served as riderless horse at the 2004 funeral of former President Ronald Reagan. . Along with rising costs for grain, hay, medicine and other everyday items, the organization has faced a 12% increase in veterinary bills since last year.

Prior to Sunday’s performance, VIP ticket holders are invited to an outdoor cocktail party at Equine Advocates Rescue and Sanctuary (conveniently located just one mile from PS21). In addition to the special guests present, including renowned food writer and author Ruth Reichl, a array of unique and exciting items will be auctioned live before the show (from a dinner for two with Reichl and a week-long stay in a luxury apartment in Amsterdam to a guided tour of the Egyptian art collection at the MET, for n to name a few).

Once the curtain goes up, additional performances include Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater company member Constance Stamatiou will be the guest star performing one of Ailey’s most important and timeless works, “Cry”; also on the program “The Hunt” by the choreographer Robert Battle.

“We have grown considerably over the years [and] done a lot, but there is still a lot to be done,” Wagner said, citing the significance of this year’s gala, the proceeds of which will go directly to the care of animals who have retired to Chatham and others who are at risk. For more information and to purchase tickets, please click here or visit