November 22, 2023

SUNY Empire Awards Dancer and Actor Prestigious Richard Porter Leach Fellowship

(SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY — January 29, 2024) — A long-time dancer for the Alvin Ailey Dance Theatre Company and a stage and film actor have been selected to receive Richard Porter Leach Fellowships to attend Empire State University.

Linda Celeste Sims, a dancer from Mahopac, NY, and Adam Chanler-Berat, an actor from Brooklyn, NY, are this year’s recipients of the esteemed fellowship, named in memory of Leach, founder of the Saratoga Performing Arts Center. The fellowship is given to matriculated students who are established and active in the performing arts and pursuing an undergraduate degree at SUNY Empire.

“This year’s recipients of the Richard Porter Leach Fellowship embody the spirit and passion that Mr. Leach had for the dramatic arts in all its forms,” said Marly Norris, executive vice president in the Office for Advancement. “We are delighted to present these fellowships to two highly deserving students, whose careers demonstrate a commitment to the performing arts and its role in the betterment of our society.”

Both students are pursuing a B.A. degree in the arts. Sims, a principal dancer with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre in Harlem for more than 24 years, is a dance educator. She is also a choreographer and visiting assistant professor of modern dance at SUNY Purchase.

Chanler-Berat is a film and stage actor who was pursuing a degree in musical theater when he landed his first professional acting role in the musical “Next to Normal.” The play was performed on Broadway and off-Broadway and went on to win the 2010 Pulitzer for drama.

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