Toby Lerner Ansin

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Toby Lerner Ansin - Founder Miami City Ballet

Toby Ansin (née Lerner; born January 3, 1941) is the founder of Miami City Ballet and widow of [1] [ full citation needed ] Edmund Ansin, co-founder of Sunbeam Television [2] In 1985, she founded Miami City Ballet, [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] a dance company that altered the cultural landscape of the city of Miami [9] [10] [11] [12] [13] and which subsequently acquired a national and international reputation. [14] [15] Ansin has continuously served on the Board of Trustees since its founding. [16] Miami City Ballet is the largest South Florida arts organization reaching an annual audience of over 125,000 in four Florida counties. It includes a ballet school with over 1500 students and adults.



Ansin attended Brookline High School in Brookline, Massachusetts for her freshman year, then transferred to Buckingham School, now Buckingham Browne & Nichols, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, graduating in 1959. She attended Wellesley College in Wellesley, Massachusetts from September 1959 until June 1961. Shortly after marrying Edmund Ansin she transferred to the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida, graduating cum laude in 1963 with a B.A. in American History.

Community service

From 1976 to 1981 she was Chairperson of The Fine Arts of Beth David, Miami, Florida. [17] Under her leadership in 1978 she presented the Pearl Lang Dance Company; in 1979 pianist Emanuel Ax; and in 1980 cellist Nathaniel Rosen. In September, 1980, in collaboration with art dealer, Barbara Gillman, Ansin organized the personal appearance of Andy Warhol in Miami [18] [19] and the world premiere of his Ten Portraits of Jews of The 20th Century. [17] From 1982 to 1987 she was a councilperson on the Dade County Council of Arts and Sciences, [20] and assisted in creating, implementing, and serving as liaison to The Dance Umbrella, a service organization for the dance companies of Dade County, Florida. In 1985, David Eden, artistic consultant to the Dance Umbrella and a colleague of Ansin's, aware of her interest in creating a professional ballet company in South Florida, suggested she meet and consult with Edward Villella on what were the necessary steps to form a ballet company. [21] On May 14, 1985, [22] [23] Villella came to Ansin's home in Coral Gables, Florida and met with her for three hours to discuss the specific artistic, administrative, and financial steps required to form a professional dance company. [24] After he left she called 6 friends, each of whom, along with Ansin contributed a thousand dollars, the seminal funds that resulted in the creation of the founding board of trustees and the recruiting of Villella, initially as a consultant, then on a one-year contract as artistic director. [25] [26] Once a professional administrative staff was in place, she focused her efforts on fund raising, special events, and public relations. [27] In 1987, she flew to Monte Carlo, Monaco and personally arranged for the visit of her Serene Highness Princess Caroline of Monaco to Miami [28] the following April to benefit Miami City Ballet, Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo, and the Princess Grace Foundation. For 27 years she worked without compensation, until her longtime companion, Leonard J. Rapport, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, requiring her to retire from active participation at MCB, (except for remaining on the board of directors), to care for him until his death ten months later. Today she remains an active board member. Every year, since 2010, The Toby Lerner Ansin Scholarship Award is given to the most promising dancer in the MCB school. [29]

Personal life

Toby Lerner Ansin was born in Boston, Massachusetts to Dr. Henry H. Lerner, a radiologist and Helen (née Kruger) Lerner. She married Edmund N. Ansin on June 11, 1961, and had three children with him: Andrew Lerner Ansin, who works at Sunbeam Properties; James Lerner Ansin, who works at Sunbeam Television Corporation (both companies owned by their father, Edmund); and Stephanie Lerner Ansin, founder and artistic director of the Miami Theater Center. Toby Lerner Ansin and Edmund N. Ansin were divorced in November 1983. Her brother Bennett Lerner is a concert pianist who made his debut at the Carnegie Recital Hall in New York City in 1976. [30] Since 2013, she has been in a committed relationship with Sanford Evans, a retired, multi-award winning New York advertising creative director.


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  1. TV ‘trailblazer’ Ed Ansin, who helped change the flavor of news, dies in Miami at 84, July 27, 2020
  2. Sun Sentinel, "WSVN-TV's Ed Ansin keeps blazing a trail, even after 50 years" Archived September 27, 2013, at the Wayback Machine , January 8, 2013
  3. Miami Herald, Living Arts, May 21, 1997, "A WOMAN OF VISION", by Fernando Gonzalez
  4. Miami Herald, Entertainment, October 16, 2010 Miami City Ballet's Fanfare "SHOWY BUT SHALLOW"
  5. Social Arts & Culture, "VIDEO: FOUNDING VISIONARY Toby Lerner Ansin and Miami City Ballet"
  6. Miami Today October 10, 1989, "Movers who shake the art world" M.J. Taylor
  7. Macaulay, Alastair (March 20, 2016). "Review: Balanchine and Shakespeare Catch Some Waves in Miami". The New York Times. ISSN   0362-4331 . Retrieved February 17, 2023.
  8. Dance Magazine, March 2006, Going Platinum By Allegra Kent, See Villella quote, "...starting with Toby Ansin, the prime mover."
  9. Miami Herald, Miami Stories January 10, 2014, "54 Years Have Seen Dramatic Changes", Diane Sepler
  10. St. Petersburg Times Dance Critic, Michael Fleming, October 26, 1986
  11. The Miami Herald, Business/Monday, December 7, 1987, Page 1 Business Section, Authors J. Chrissos & L. Horn, Herald Staff writers, "LEAP TOWARD THE TOP"
  12. Dance Magazine, November 1989, Taking Care of The Roles: Villella Victorious, Miami's Prometheus by Laurie Horn, Dance Critic Miami Herald, See page 47
  13. New York Times, September 3, 1989, "In Miami, the Visual and Performing Arts Seek Their Place In The Sun'" by George Volsky
  14. "DANCE REVIEW MIAMI CITY BALLET, Finally Arriving in Manhattan, With Balanchine as Its Calling Card", By ALASTAIR MACAULAY, Published: January 22, 2009
  15. Indulge Magazine, Special Miami Herald Publication, Art Basel Issue, December 2015/January 2016, Page 79, (The Pioneers) Stephanie Ansin & Toby Lerner Ansin
  16. See:Founders
  17. 1 2 The Miami Herald, "Person to Person", June 25, 1980
  18. The Miami News, September 2, 1980, LIFESTYLE, Section B, WHAT'S HAPPENING, Billie O'Day, "ANDY WARHOL VISITS MIAMI"
  19. Warhol's Jews Ten Portraits Reconsidered, Published by The Jewish Museum and the Contemporary Jewish Museum, Distributed by Yale University Press, 2008
  20. Reinventing Fundraising, Page 61, Shaw and Taylor, 1995, Jossey-Bass, Inc, Publishers
  21. The New Yorker, November 21, 1988, Page 69, Paragraph 2, "On Edward Villella", by Arlene Croce
  22. "The Rise of The Prodigal Son" - Pg 2 - tribune digital-sunsentinel
  23. "Ansin And Villella Make Ballet Happen"
  24. The Miami Herald, December 7, 1987, Business Section, Final Edition, Page 1BM "Leap Toward The Top", by Joan Chrissos and Laurie Horn
  25. New York Times
  27. Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, November 23, 1994, "PEOPLETALK, MCB luncheon a waltz" See Edward Villella quote, second column, 6th paragraph re: Toby Ansin
  28. Miami Herald, December 7, 1987 Business, "Miami Ballet do a pas de deux" See last 5 paragraphs
  29. "Miami City Ballet adds new dancers for the coming season | Miami Herald". Miami Herald . Archived from the original on August 8, 2015.
  30. New York Times, "Music in Review", October 10, 1976
  31. "The George Abbott Award | the Carbonell Awards".
  32. Miami Herald, Living Today, "Actors Playhouse wins..." See listing of awards
  33. Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, Wed. September 18, 1991, Pg. 3E "Theater, ballet figures nominated for award"
  34. Past honorees list [ dead link ]
  35. 1997, the Florida Division of Cultural Affairs
  36. Association of Fundraising Professionals
  37. "2008 Imprint Awards". Archived from the original on June 20, 2023. Retrieved July 14, 2015.
  38. "Dance/USA Conference comes to Miami this week | Miami Herald". Miami Herald . Archived from the original on July 27, 2015.